• Supreme Court upholds plunder rap vs Jinggoy

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday upheld the filing of a plunder complaint against Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, thus allowing the Sandiganbayan to proceed with the trial of the case that involves the alleged misuse of the senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

    Through a 9-5 vote with one inhibition, the SC en banc junked Estrada’s petition questioning the preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman that eventually led to his indictment at the Sandiganbayan.

    Those who voted to junk his petition were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the ponente of the case; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno; and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

    Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin and Jose Mendoza dissented.

    Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza recused himself since he handled the case when he was the Solicitor General.

    The High Court also junked Estrada’s petition questioning the arrest warrant issued against him.

    In a petition for certiorari, he asked the SC to invalidate a joint resolution issued by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that led to his indictment.

    He also lambasted the testimony of Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason.

    “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,” Estrada argued in his petition.

    Malacañang said the decision “strengthens the Ombudsman’s mandate to exact accountability on all public officials.”

    “We are held to be accountable. I mean all public officials. It’s not only the administration’s position. It’s the position in the Constitution,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a news conference.

    Estrada is also facing graft charges at the anti-graft court for allegedly pocketing portions of his pork barrel fund allocations through a systematic scheme involving bogus non-government organizations. He is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

    With Catherine S. Valente

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    4 Comments

    1. This is why your court cases take so long to get resolved. Just look at when these guys were first charged & look up till now they are still trying to get their cases junked. Their is either enough evidence to warrant a trial or there isnt. Once that is determined then a trial should go ahead. How many times do these people want their case to be checked out before it can go to trial.
      In the uk if something is investigated & evidence found its very quickly assessed weather or not to proceed with a trial, it doesnt run on & on & on like it does here. I think politicians made it this way so that if ever they were caught dipping their greedy little fingers in the pot they want to make it as difficult as possible to get it into court. It doesnt need to be anywhere like this difficult. Get it into court, look at the evidence & reach a verdict, then pnish the guilty & set free the innocent. Then move on with the next cases. Its not rocket science.

    2. I do not understand why several Justice dissented or did not agree to the plunder against Senator Estrada.

      Let the Ombudsman present their evidences in court and once and for all let the courts decide on the merits of the case against this Senator and other Senators.

      If found guilty beyond reasonable doubt he should be jailed and his ill gotten wealth confiscated.

    3. As Cardinal Tagle says, Pilipinas is beacon and a shining example to Asia and the rest of the world. Pinagpapala talaga ang Pilipinas…. amen!