Jing­goy leaves po­lice de­ten­tion

The Freeman - - FRONT PAGE - Philstar.com

MANILA—Af­ter three years in de­ten­tion, for­mer sen­a­tor Jing­goy Estrada yes­ter­day noon left the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Cus­to­dial Cen­ter af­ter post­ing bail for his plun­der and graft cases over his al­leged in­volve­mentinthe­p­ork bar­rel fund scam.

The bail bond of P1.33 mil­lion was paid to the Sandi­gan­bayan cash of­fice by his le­gal coun­sel yes­ter­day morn­ing. A spe­cial divi­sion of the anti-graft court on Fri­day granted his pe­ti­tion for bail.

In the dis­pos­i­tive por­tion of the res­o­lu­tion, the court said Estrada is not a flight risk as he is "for­mer sen­a­tor of the Philip­pines and a prom­i­nent per­son­al­ity."

The court also noted that Estrada vol­un­tar­ily sur­ren­dered him­self be­fore the court when the cases were filed and that his de­ten­tion for more than three years now, "negate the in­ten­tion or in­cli­na­tion to evade the le­gal pro­cesses."

A copy of a re­lease or­der, signed by As­so­ciate Jus­tice Edgardo Calona, was later is­sued by the anti-graft court di­rect­ing the PNP Cus­to­dial Cen­ter to re­lease Estrada.

Estrada, whose pre­vi­ous pe­ti­tion to be granted bail had been de­nied, ar­gued that the prose­cu­tion failed to iden­tify him in the charge sheet as the "main plun­derer" in the case.

Estrada ar­gued that if the al­leged P183-mil­lion kick­backs from his Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance Fund is to be di­vided among him and his three coac­cused, each's share would only amount to P45.9-mil­lion, which is be­low the P50 mil­lion thresh­old amount of il­le­gally amassed fund for a crime to be con­sid­ered as plun­der.

Lawyer Alexis Abastil­las Suarez said Estrada is ex­pected to at­tend a thanks­giv­ing mass af­ter the lat­ter's re­lease.

Estrada has been de­tained at the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Cus­to­dial Cen­ter in Camp Crame, Que­zon City since the cases were filed by the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man in June 2014.

The cases stemmed from Estrada's al­leged amass­ing of P183-mil­lion­worthof kick­backs by al­lo­cat­ing por­tions of his Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance Fund (PDAF) or pork bar­rel to bo­gus foun­da­tions al­legedly owned by the al­leged pork scam mas­ter­mind Janet Lim-Napoles.

"I can't ex­press my feel­ings right­now.Cer­tainly,I'mveryvery happy, I'm very elated. I would like to thank the Lord God for giv­ing me this op­por­tu­nity. I would like to thank the mag­is­trates of the Sandi­gan­bayan for grant­ing my pe­ti­tion for bail," Estrada said af­ter com­plet­ing his bail pro­ce­dure.

"I would like to thank all my fam­ily and sup­port­ers for their non-ending prayers for me," he added. —

ABS-CBN NEWS PHOTO

For­mer Sen­a­tor Jing­goy Estrada shares his first meal, "as a free man," with his fam­ily at a Chi­nese restau­rant in Green­hills, San Juan City since his re­lease from PNP de­ten­tion yes­ter­day.

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