• Sandiganbayan urged: Suspend Jinggoy, Bong

    Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada waves after his arraignment. PHOTOS BY MIKE

    Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada waves after his arraignment as he is escorted out of the court by his police guards. PHOTOS BY MIKE

    Government lawyers want the Sandiganbayan to suspend Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada pending litigation of the plunder and graft cases filed against the two lawmakers in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    On Monday, prosecutors filed two separate motions to suspend Revilla and Estrada pendente lite [during litigation]. They also sought the suspension of Richard Cambe, who they said is Director III at Revilla’s office.

    Despite his detention, Estrada’s continued stay in office, in particular, “may frustrate the prosecution of the crime, if not prejudice the case filed against him,” the government lawyers said.

    “To prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance, tamper with documentary evidence and intimidate or influence witnesses in the case, it is necessary that the accused be suspended from office while the case is pending in court,” the prosecutors noted.

    Revilla and Estrada are detained at Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Quezon City. They were accused of getting huge kickbacks by diverting their pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus projects under sham non-government organizations allegedly owned by co-accused Janet Lim-Napoles.

    Revilla and Cambe were arraigned at the Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Thursday while Estrada was arraigned at the Fifth Division on Monday. He refused to enter a plea.

    “With the arraignment of the accused, the validity of the information is no longer in question,” the prosecutors said.

    In seeking the suspension of Estrada, they cited Section 5 of Republic Act 7080, the law defining and punishing plunder, which states that any public officer, against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information for plunder in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.

    They also cited a precedent case, Socrates vs. Sandiganbayan, in saying that upon determination of the validity of the information, it becomes mandatory for the court to immediately issue the suspension order.

    Meanwhile, the prosecution team in Revilla’s case also argued that it is now mandatory for the court to suspend Revilla and Cambe.

    They cited the case of Defensor-Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan et al. where the Supreme Court ruled that once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court is bound to issue an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be “no ifs and buts about it.”

    The plunder law states that if the accused shall be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law.

    If acquitted, he is entitled to reinstatement to public office and to the salaries and benefits he failed to receive during suspension, unless administrative proceedings have been lodged against him.

    No plea
    Estrada’s family—wife Precy, former President Joseph Estrada, former senator Luisa Ejercito and siblings Jackie Lopez and Jude—were present when he was arraigned on Monday.

    “Upon the advice of my counsel, I will not enter a plea because of my pending petitions before the Supreme Court involving my right to due process and grave abuse of discretion by the Ombudsman. So with all due respect to this court, I refuse to enter a plea,” the senator told the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division.

    Napoles entered a not-guilty plea. She came in wearing a dark blue hoodie, shades, slim fit denim pants and sneakers. But unlike Estrada’s case, not a single member of Napoles’ family was in attendance.

    After his arraignment, Estrada hurled tirades at the government because of the prosecution’s aborted bid to amend the plunder charge against him.

    “This is already indicative that the cases filed against me are railroaded and my right to due process was violated, especially during the preliminary investigation done by the Ombudsman [Conchita Carpio-Morales]. They want to be glorified as heroes by putting three senators behind bars with haphazard filing of cases,” he said.

    “They want to be famous for jailing three senators even if there is not enough evidence against us. If they have truckloads of evidence and the case is airtight as they initially said, why is there such a need to amend the information? Kung talagang malakas ang kaso, kaya nilang gumawa ng kaso na walang pagkakamali kahit nakapikit ang kanilang dalawang mata [If that is really the case, they should have been able to draft a flawless complaint even with their eyes closed],” the senator added.

    “I see the granting of bail is not far behind. I hope to be acquitted again,” Estrada said.

    Associate Justices Roland Jurado, Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Theresa Estoesta scheduled the preliminary conference of the plunder and graft charges against Estrada and his co-accused on July 14 to 16.

    The pre-trial will follow on August 4 at 2 p.m.


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    1. Mukhang tahimik ang mga mga tongressmen like Tupak and the likes ,kapal ng mga mukha, kunyari pa raw ay malilinis ang pagkatao during the Impeachment hearing ni CJ Renato Corona pero lahat magnanakaw Ang mabuti lang sa ginawa ni J,inggoy he disclosed the bribe given by the President using illegal DAP to bribe all Senators and Congressmen to impeach Corona for personal vendettawhcih shows he is using his office for personal interest instead for the people he should be serving . Karma .

    2. Johnny Ramos on

      Acosta is now facing a graft case in sandigan, why did conchita morales did not ask sandiigan court to suspend the guy. Acosta has more power to tamper evidences against him.

    3. For Ombudsman Morales inglorious act of attempting to amend the information against the three accused senators only to be pointed out by the three prosecutors of the Fifth Sandiganbayan that to do so will substantially alter the theory of the charges, she’s now acting like a pampered kid asking the Sandiganbayan to suspend the three accused from further holding office. The gallivanting “Ombudsman Queen” should have known better that when meeting the press and brag about that she has more than enough evidence to convict the three accused senators is to make sure that her “Truck-Load” of evidence is “Fool-Proof” or good enough against human error, incompetence, and failure. Otherwise, expect to be put to shame by a lesser class of prosecutors mocking her intellectual greatness and stature?

    4. I wouldnt give these people a chance to speak to the press, we dont want to hear the lies coming from their mouths. Its strange how they didnt know the ngo’s of janet lym napolez were bogus yet they pressured people like dennis cunanan who served as the director general of the trc, he himself said he was personally admonished by estrada & revilla for not expiditing the processing of their pdaf – funded projects. So why were these funds so important to these senators, if they say they didnt know they were bogus ngo’s at the least surely that is criminal negligence but i am convinced 100% they are lying & knew full well they were bogus ngo’s & they wanted to steal money from this country to put in their bank accounts. We now need investigative journalists of the highest calibre to find out where they hid this money, im sure they didnt keep it under their beds & im also sure their spouses know about this money & possibly their children. Get rid of this bank secrecy law to help in investigations like these, we need to catch all scum like these & jail them for the rest of their lives.

    5. What about his connection with former DBM Secretary Andaya? Was it included in the evidences submitted by the Ombudsman prosecutors to Sandiganbayan? Kung ang mga prosecutors at jurado sa Sandiganbayan ay mga negosyante –nagbibili ng kaluluwa tulad ni Ong–tiyak na tuloy ang pamamayagpag ng mga akusado na mga de capanilla ang mga abugado.

    6. Junggoy, just go to hell! your antics won’t work, you plundered this country, it’s just right that you suffer the consequences of your thieving acts.