2 jus­tices: Ev­i­dence vs Jing­goy strong

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By EL­IZ­A­BETH MARCELO

The pros­e­cu­tion’s ev­i­dence against for­mer se­na­tor Jing­goy Estrada is strong enough to war­rant his con­tin­ued de­ten­tion for a plun­der case, ac­cord­ing to two jus­tices of the Sandi­gan­bayan dis­sent­ing the court de­ci­sion to grant him bail.

As­so­ciate Jus­tice Zaldy Tre­spe­ses said in his six-page dis­sent­ing opin­ion that the court should not have granted Estrada’s mo­tion out­right but in­stead should have con­ducted another bail hear­ing to al­low the pros­e­cu­tion to present its ev­i­dence against the new ar­gu­ment raised by Estrada in his mo­tion.

“I find that not­with­stand­ing the (Supreme Court’s) Ar­royo rul­ing, Estrada should be de­nied bail con­sid­er­ing that the bail hear­ings yielded strong ev­i­dence of his guilty for the crime of plun­der,” Tre­spe­ses said.

“Grant­ing bail to Estrada on the strength of a mere mo­tion is pro­ce­du­rally in­firm, con­sid­er­ing the prior, well-rea­soned Res­o­lu­tion dated 7 Jan­uary 2016 of the Court deny­ing him bail af­ter the con­duct of bail hear­ings,” the mag­is­trate added.

Tre­spe­ses said that in more than a year of hear­ing Estrada’s orig­i­nal pe­ti­tion for bail, suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence was pre­sented by the pros­e­cu­tion to show that he was the “hub” or at the cen­ter of the al­leged mis­use of his mil­lions of pe­sos worth of Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance Fund (PDAF), or pork bar­rel, when he was a se­na­tor.

Tre­spe­ses noted that among the pros­e­cu­tion’s ev­i­dence pre­sented dur­ing the bail hear­ings were sev­eral let­ters per­son­ally signed by Estrada en­dors­ing the fake foun­da­tions al­legedly owned by Napoles as the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of his PDAF.

Tre­spe­ses also cited the re­pro­duced checks con­nect­ing Estrada to a cer­tain Juan Ng.

Dur­ing the hear­ings of Estrada’s orig­i­nal bail pe­ti­tion, the pros­e­cu­tion said the bank ac­count un­der the name Juan Ng is just a dummy ac­count of Estrada, where his sup­posed kick­backs from the scam was al­legedly de­posited.

“In the fi­nal anal­y­sis, it was Estrada’s en­dorse­ment that set into mo­tion the sub­ject trans­ac­tions which, us­ing Napoles’ scheme/fa­cil­i­ties, re­sulted in amass­ing ill-got­ten wealth for his ben­e­fit,” Tre­spe­ses said.

“This vo­lu­mi­nous ev­i­dence still stands in sup­port of the pros­e­cu­tion’s po­si­tion that the ev­i­dence of guilt of ac­cused Estrada is strong,” he added.

The Sandi­gan­bayan Fifth Di­vi­sion in a 215-page res­o­lu­tion pro­mul­gated on Jan. 7, 2016 de­nied Estrada and Janet LimNapoles’ pe­ti­tions for bail.

Estrada ap­pealed the rul­ing through a mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion but the same was de­nied on May 11, 2016.

At the time, the court was com­posed of As­so­ciate Jus­tices Roland Ju­rado, Alexan­der Ges­mundo and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Es­toesta.

The Fifth Di­vi­sion’s com­po­si­tion has since changed. Its reg­u­lar mem­bers now are As­so­ciate Jus­tices Rafael La­gos, Ma. Theresa Men­doza-Arcega and Rey­naldo Cruz.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.