• Court grants Jinggoy’s petition for furlough

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    The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has granted former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s plea for a furlough to attend the 80th birthday of his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, tomorrow (Wednesday).

    The younger Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City over plunder and graft charges he is facing along with several other individuals in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

    “Over the objection of the prosecution, the court grants the motion in recognition of deeply embedded Filipino customs and traditions, covering respect and regard to parents and the elderly. Moreover, accused Jinggoy Estrada appears to have complied with all the conditions of his detention and no serious adverse reports have reached the court concerning his detention for the last two (2) years and nine (9) months,” the court said in a minute resolution dated April 10.

    “As prayed for, accused Jinggoy Estrada, is hereby authorized to attend the 80th birthday of his father at the Manila Hotel on April 19, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., exclusive of travel period, subject to the following conditions,” it added.

    In granting the younger Estrada’s plea, the court directed Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald de la Rosa, in cooperation with the court’s sheriffs, to “provide adequate personal escorts and security measures.”

    Jinggoy shall shoulder the expenses that the PNP will incur for the police escorts and security measures, it said.

    The court’s ruling also stated that he shall be transported to the Manila Hotel “and to no other place” on April 19, not earlier than an hour before the appointed time.

    He shall leave for his place of detention not later than 11 p.m. also on April 19, it added.

    “The use of any means of communication and electronic gadgets [phones, cell phones, Internet, etc.] by the accused and those who will accompany him shall be under the control and supervision of the detailed PNP security,” the court said.

    Media and other news interviews are not allowed.

    Jinggoy is one of three former senators, namely, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, who were charged in 2014 along with Janet Lim-Napoles and several others in connection with the PDAF scam.

    Revilla is also detained at the PNP Custodial Center, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.

    Meanwhile, Napoles is serving life sentence at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) after a Makati City (also in Metro Manila) court found her guilty in a serious illegal detention case filed against her by pork scam witness Benhur Luy. REINA TOLENTINO

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