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Paule under Senate custody – lawyer

Posted by Abi Kwok on February 11, 2009

By Philip Tubeza, Abigail Kwok, Maila Ager, Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 5) Jaime Paule, the alleged bagman of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, is now under the custody of the Senate sergeant-at-arms, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

But Paule would have to spend his first day in detention at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City, after his attending physician, Dr. Juliet Cervantes, required him to stay overnight to undergo a series of tests to rule out a heart attack, said lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

Topacio said Paule himself received the arrest warrant, which was presented by the team leader, Director Gil Valdez.

Paule was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night, after he heard of his arrest order, Topacio said.

“When he heard the news that he was to be arrested, natension siya [he became tensed] so he had to seek medical help,” Topacio told reporters that staked out Paule’s Antipolo home.

Paule’s confinement happened at about the same time that the Senate ordered the businessman’s arrest for allegedly lying in his testimony before the upper chamber.

Topacio said Paule has to undergo a myocardial perfusion scan, a process that measures blood flow to the heart to rule out “schemic heart disease.”

Paule’s length of stay in the hospital will be determined by the results of his test, his lawyer said.

Despite this, Topacio assured that his client would not be evading arrest.

“Hindi po kami nagtatago, susunod po kami. Kung may arrest order, gagalangin po namin yan” [We are not hiding. We are going to follow. If there is an arrest order, we will respect that], he said.

He added that Paule agreed to be detained “wherever he has to be” but added that his client would pursue other legal remedies to avoid being put at the Pasay City jail.

Paule’s daughter, Iris Paule-Ercillo, protested the “unfair” treatment of senators to her dad.

“Maging fair naman sila kay daddy kasi they don’t have any basis for the accusations” [I hope they will be fair to daddy because they don’t have any basis for the accusations], she said.

Paule’s daughter also appealed to senators not to detain her dad in Pasay City jail because “he’s not a criminal.”

Topacio said they would go to the Supreme Court early Thursday to question the Senate’s arrest order.

Topacio arrived in Antipolo at about 3:20 p.m.

Paule’s confinement is similar to that of Bolante who, after arriving from the United States, was to have been served an arrest warrant by the Senate security to compel him to testify.

But instead, Bolante went straight to St. Luke’s where he was confined for several days before he was declared fit to testify by his doctors.

Paule is in hot water after witnesses claimed that he built the elaborate structure for the fund diversion in the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.

Senator Richard Gordon, blue ribbon committee chairman, recommended Paule’s arrest on February 4, but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was able to sign the warrant only Tuesday night.

The Senate blue ribbon committee ordered Paule’s arrest and detention at the Pasay City jail for three days for his “contemptuous behavior” when he appeared before the Senate.

The team, led by Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Dimacali, arrived outside Paule’s home around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday but was not able to get into the businessman’s large gated house.

One of the businessman’s daughters, Cheryl, arrived a few minutes later after buying pandesal (local bread) and told the team and the media present that her father was not home.

“He’s not here. It’s ok with me if you come in but he’s really not here,” Cheryl said.

She also complained about the “unfair treatment” her father had allegedly gotten from the Senate before going inside the house and closing the gate.

“Bakit naman kailangan ng ganoon … kung malinis naman ang kalooban ni Daddy [Why are they arresting him when his conscience is clean]?” she said.

“Dapat kasi pinakinggan muna ang panig ni Daddy [They should have listened to his side first],” she said. “Anak kami pero naaawa kami kay Daddy [We are his children but we pity him].”

“Bakit hindi muna alamin ang katotohanan bago sila maghusga ng tao [Why don’t they find out the truth before passing judgment]?” she added. “Iyan lang ang ayaw ko sa Senado [That’s what I detest in the Senate].”

To this Dimacali answered: “Hindi naman hinuhusgahan … kaso kapag tinatanong siya, hindi naman siya sumasagot (ng katotohanan) [He is not being judged … but when he is asked, he doesn’t tell (the truth)].”

But she said: “Kapag sumasagot siya … binabastos naman siya [When he answers, he is being maligned].”

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