3 Sandigan justices told to stay on Jinggoy case


The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division will continue hearing the plunder and graft charges against Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada in connection with the pork barrel scam.

On Wednesday, the three justices making up the division heeded the collective advice of the entire court for them to stay on the case.

In a special en banc session, the court turned down the “personal reasons” of Associate Justices Roland Jurado, Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta to stop handling Estrada’s case.

“We felt that the reasons were not compelling enough that is why we advised them not to pursue their request anymore,” Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said.

The three magistrates agreed to follow the advice of their colleagues.
In a news conference after the en banc, Cabotaje-Tang said the three justices did not actually ask to inhibit but requested recusal.

“There is a difference between the two because in case they voluntarily inhibited, neither the court en banc nor the presiding justice has the power to deny. But since their letter merely requests recusal, we treated it as a request for advice from the en banc whether they should inhibit or not,” she added.

“And the unanimous consensus of the 11 members of the court [was]for the three justices not to pursue the request for inhibition and to continue handling the case,” Cabotaje-Tang said.

Estrada and his co-accused, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, have pending bail
petitions before the Fifth Division.

The division can also proceed to deliberate on Estrada’s motion for a furlough so he could spend Christmas at the place of his father (Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada) and New Year’s at his residence.

The senator filed the motion one day before the three justices requested recusal.

The Sandiganbayan is made up of 15 justices, sitting in five divisions of three justices each.
A vacancy developed in the Fourth Division after the dismissal of former Associate Justice Gregory Ong.

Two other divisions, the First and the Third, handle the cases against Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Gesmundo, Gomez-Estoesta and Jurado asked their colleagues not to disclose their reasons in public.

Cabotaje-Tang said the request for recusal has nothing to do with the recently granted access of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of the Sandiganbayan justices, or with the supposed inquiry by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) into their bank accounts.

“That is not true. That is not the reason or the reported Malacañang pressure on the justices, again, that is not true,” she said.

When asked if the personal reasons given by the three justices were the same, Cabotaje-Tang replied, “Their chairperson has I think a more serious concern.”

She described the reasons as “almost the same kind” but “in varying degrees.”

It was the first time in the court’s 40-year history that an entire division asked to be recused from a case.

The court was previously expected to resolve the matter in January when it holds its next en banc session, but the presiding justice wanted “a definitive action” so that by the time the hearings resume, there is a division already designated to handle the case.

“Personally I don’t think there is any adverse impact or significant impact of that [on the case]. I believe in the three members of this division and I believe that they can do their job well,” Cabotaje-Tang said.


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  1. J_Ungoy Alipore on

    What do you expect with an elitist, undemocratic and dysfunctional judicial system. The companiero club is in control of the system, They , lawyers including the judge, conspire, broker, lobby, fix, slow down and pimp cases for consideration(pesos). The system forgot to dispense justice because of the elitism. SC can be elitist, since it is a group of chosen experience lawyers.
    It is about time to REVAMP THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM to be more democratic.
    Include the professional/skilled citizenry in the judgement at lower court, as well in the administration and management of judicial system as look out and check and balance of abuses and dysfunction.

  2. 5th division justices are the most corrupt among the divisions they give a go to Japan for Mrs.13% E.Binay and now ang baho nila with SALN and AMLC.

  3. What the HELL are the UNAs talking about? What face do the UNAs have to face the Pope with all the corruption they did most especially the Binays. Anong pag-mamalinis ang ipinapakita ninyong mga UNA sa harap ng Santo Papa. Matakot naman sana kayong mga UNA sa Diyos lalo na ang mga Binays. Binay is like Mayweather. Ayaw lumaban ng patas. Gusto ni Binay na lumaban/sumagot sa mga bintang sa kanya ayon sa kanyang gusto. He likes to defend himself in his own terms and would insist all the time to defend himself in court (Ombudsman) because it will take decades for the court to make a decision and worst of all it will take decades for the court to schedule a hearing because the lawyers of Binay will use technicalities to delay hearings and by the time a decision is made Binay’s grandkids will be the corrupt congressmen and senators whom the stupid Filipinos voted. At this time, let us all pray to the Lord to save our beloved country from the corrupt Binays. Please God save the Philippines from the UNAs and especially the Binays.