UPDATE: Court defers graft trial of ex-Sen. Estrada


THE Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has postponed the graft trial of former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada in connection with the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund.

The prosecution’s initial presentation of evidence was scheduled today, Monday but was moved to September 25 as the parties have yet to sign the pre-trial order.

A pre-trial order lists the number of hearing dates, the documentary evidence and witnesses to be presented, and the issues to be resolved during trial.

Estrada is facing 11 counts of graft for allegedly causing undue injury to the government by receiving alleged kickbacks from the supposedly diverted amount of his PDAF.

He is also facing a plunder charge before the court over the P183 million supposed kickbacks that he allegedly received by pouring his PDAF to non-government organizations supposedly ran by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles for projects that allegedly turned out to be non-existent.

Estrada is one of three former senators, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, whom the Office of the Ombudsman charged in 2014, along with Napoles and several others in connection with the PDAF scam.

The Ombudsman filed a P224-million plunder case and 16 counts of graft against Revilla, while it filed a P172-million plunder case and 15 counts of graft against Enrile.

Both Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.

Napoles is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO






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