Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada was not given permission by the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to leave his place of detention and spend the holidays with his family at home.
The anti-graft court denied for lack of merit his request for a furlough on December 25 and on December 31 to January 1 in a two-page resolution issued on Friday.
Agreeing with the prosecution team handling the case, the court ruled that allowing Estrada to leave his detention cell “will set a bad precedent” and “will likewise be regarded as a mockery of the administration of justice.”
“Moreover, allowing the accused to leave his detention cell on the requested period will entail additional and considerable government expenses to safeguard his security and safety,” the court further ruled.
It reiterated its ruling on Estrada’s previous motion to be allowed a pass to visit places of interment of his relatives and friends on November 1, 2014, saying it was similar to his request for a furlough.
“Indeed, accused-movant, being a detention prisoner, cannot be allowed the full enjoyment of his rights, be it civil or political, just like all other detention prisoners,” the resolution said.
The ruling was signed by Fifth Division Chairman Roland Jurado and Associate Justices Oscar Herrera (Herrera is a member of the Second Division; Fifth Division Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo is on leave) and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta.
Estrada sought to be brought on December 25 to his father and deposed President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s place on Polk Street, North Greenhills in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
He also asked permission to spend the night from 6 p.m. of December 31 until January 1 at his residence on 520 Cameron Road, Corinthian Hills in Quezon City and return to his father’s place on January 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prosecutors opposed his request arguing that granting the same “would be a display of partiality in his favor. As a detention prisoner, accused should not be treated differently from all other prisoners who may want to visit their families during the holidays.”
Estrada is facing a P183-million plunder charge before the Fifth Division in connection with the pork barrel scam and is detained in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
On Monday, Justices Jurado, Gesmundo and Gomez-Estoesta asked for recusal citing “personal reasons” but heeded their colleague’s advice to keep handling the case.
In a special en banc session on Wednesday, the 11 justices of the Sandiganbayan turned down their request as they felt that the reasons were not compelling enough.