Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada is opposing the prosecution’s move to have him transferred to a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detention facility from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Estrada’s lawyers on Wednesday said the senator’s detention at the PNP Custodial Center has legal basis since the PNP recognizes the custodial center as a “prison.”
Government lawyers claimed that the facility is not a jail and that Estrada is being given special treatment by being allowed to stay there.
“The special treatment given to the accused creates a negative image of the country’s court and justice system. It casts doubt on the government’s capacity to afford equal protection of the law to all citizens,” they said.
But Estrada’s lawyers said the senator is not an ordinary citizen or detainee.
They told the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division that other high-risk, high-profile detainees are also staying in the PNP Custodial Center pending their trial, such as retired police general Geary Barias and former PNP chief Avelino Razon, who are also facing plunder charges.
“The threat to [Estrada’s] safety is definitely higher than the threat to the safety of the ordinary detainee,” defense lawyers said.
Meanwhile, Sandiganbayan Third Division Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Samuel Martires inspected also on Wednesday the detention facility for female inmates in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City (Metro Manila) where Janet Lim- Napoles and Gigi Reyes are being held.
Division Clerk of Court Dennis Pulma said Napoles and Reyes were in separate cells on the ground floor. The justices saw the two inmates but did not talk to them.