Jinggoy leaves police detention
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. —
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.