Ex-pres­i­dent Estrada’s son Jing­goy out on bail

The Star Malaysia - - World -

Manila: The son of for­mer Philip­pine pres­i­dent Joseph Estrada who was held in de­ten­tion for more than three years over a mas­sive “pork bar­rel” scam was out on bail yes­ter­day.

For­mer sen­a­tor Jose “Jing­goy” Estrada, 54, was re­leased af­ter his lawyers posted 1.33 mil­lion pe­sos (RM108,597)) in bail.

He still faces trial for al­legedly skim­ming 183 mil­lion pe­sos (RM1.49mil) off a “pork bar­rel” known as the Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance Fund.

A “pork bar­rel” refers to gov­ern­ment funds for projects by leg­is­la­tors meant to please vot­ers and win votes.

An anti-graft court filed plun­der charges against Estrada in June 2014. He was ar­rested a month later.

The case dragged on for over three years as his lawyers re­peat­edly asked the court to al­low him to post bail for an of­fence con­sid­ered non-bail­able.

Estrada is the el­dest son of for­mer ac­tor Joseph Estrada, who was Philip­pine pres­i­dent from 1998 till he was ousted in a pop­u­lar re­volt in 2001 over cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

In al­low­ing Estrada to post bail, the anti-graft court said “there was no strong ev­i­dence” that he was the “main plun­derer” in a scam to steal 10 bil­lion pe­sos (RM816.5mil) in pub­lic funds.

Estrada is the se­cond sen­a­tor im­pli­cated in the case to be al­lowed to post bail. For­mer sen­a­tor Juan Ponce En­rile, 93, was al­lowed to post bail on ac­count of his age and health. An­other for­mer sen­a­tor Ra­mon Revilla Jr, 50, is still be­ing held in­side a com­pound at the Philip­pine po­lice head­quar­ters in Manila. He is also seek­ing bail.

In his cam­paign speeches, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte vowed to have Estrada and Revilla re­leased from de­ten­tion. He claimed the two had been tar­geted by his pre­de­ces­sor Benigno Aquino for po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.

— AFP

Le­gal trou­ble: A file pic of Jing­goy on his way to a de­ten­tion cen­tre.

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