HOURS after he surrendered on Monday, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Sandiganbayan from trying the plunder and graft charges filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.
In his petition for certiorari filed at the High Court late on Monday, the detained lawmaker asked the SC to invalidate the joint resolution issued by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales which indicted him before the anti-graft court.
“The continuation of further proceedings against Sen. Estrada by the Office of the Ombudsman, which has been ousted of its jurisdiction by virtue of its violation of Sen. Estrada’s constitutional rights, as well as the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan, will work injustice and cause grave and irreparable injury to him as he will be required to go through the hardship of submitting himself to trial, which would tend to render any judgment in this petition ineffectual,” Estrada said.
The senator asked the tribunal to immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction that will stop the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with his trial.
Estrada also sought to invalidate the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan on Monday that led to his imprisonment in Camp Crame.
Estrada joined Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the detention facility of the Philippine National Police. The two lawmakers, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Janet Lim Napoles and several others were charged with plunder and graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.
“The fact that there is selective prosecution, or rather persecution, is further proven by the fact that there existed documents that implicated other members of the legislature other than Sen. Estrada, Sen. Revilla and Sen. Enrile and yet all these legislators have not been investigated,” Estrada petition read.
“Apart from bare allegations and hearsay evidence, there is no proof that Sen. Estrada received, amassed, accumulated or acquired a single centavo out of his PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] allocation through a combination or series of overt criminal acts,” it added.
“Even Ruby Tuason, assuming that her testimony is credible and believable, never said that she had delivered to Sen. Estrada such sums of money which is anywhere near P50,000,000.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th dismissed claims that Estrada and Revilla are being given special treatment in Camp Crame.
In fact, the two detainees are getting “appropriate treatment,” Trillanes noted on Tuesday.
Trillanes, who spent more than seven years in detention, said the two senators are only being accorded the treatment that should be given to ordinary detainees.
“This is what the government should do—upgrade all detention facilities in order to improve the condition of all detainees,” the senator said.
He explained that the treatment given to ordinary detainees is degrading and inhumane.
As for Revilla’s request for an air cooler inside his cell, Trillanes said the issue can be resolved by the jail custodian, not the court.
“Detainees are presumed innocent so why deprive them of something that will not compromise the intention of a detention facility?” he pointed out.
Trillanes said he will visit his detained colleagues once the situation had normalized.
Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano reiterated his call to the SC to allow live media coverage on the plunder trial of the pork barrel fund scam at the Sandiganbayan.
Cayetano believes that by opening the court’s proceedings, the verdict would be more acceptable to the people.
“How can the people accept the decision of the court if they would not be allowed to witness the proceedings?” Cayetano asked.
With Jefferson Antiporda