Trial of Jinggoy, others starts Sept.

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The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division will start trying in September graft cases filed against former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and several other individuals in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

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Pretrial of the cases was terminated on Monday as the prosecution and the defense finished marking evidence that they intend to present during trial.

The court set the trial on September 4 and every other Monday thereafter.

It ordered issuance of the pretrial order, which will be signed by the parties and their lawyers.

A pretrial order lists the number of hearing dates, as well as the witnesses to be presented and the issues to be resolved during the trial.

Meanwhile, the pretrial of the related plunder case was terminated last month and the court will begin trying this case on June 19.

Estrada was charged with plunder along with his former aide Pauline Labayen (at large) as well as Janet Lim-Napoles and John Raymund de Asis.

The former senator was charged with graft along with Labayen; Napoles; de Asis; former Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos as well as Marilou Bare, Lalaine Paule and Rosario Nuñez, who were DBM employees at the time material to the cases; former National Agribusiness Corp. President Allan Javellana and former Nabcor employees Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Rhodora Mendoza, Victor Cacal, Maria Ninez Guañizo and Romulo Relevo; former Technology Resource Center Directors General Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan as well as former TRC employees Francisco Figura, Marivic Jover, Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu; and former National Livelihood and Development Corp. President Gondelina Amata as well as former NLDC employees Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Chita Jalandoni, Sofia Cruz, Evelyn Sucgang and Gregoria Buenaventura.

Estrada is one of three former senators, including Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, who were charged in 2014 along with alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several other individuals in connection with the PDAF scam.

Both Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court (SC) granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds. REINA C. TOLENTINO

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