2 justices: Evidence vs Jinggoy strong
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.