SANDIGANBAYAN JUNKS SEN. ESTRADA’S BAIL PETITION

MANILA, Jan. 7 (PNA) — The Sandiganbayan has denied the petition for bail of detained Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada from his plunder charge in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam.

The bail petition of Estrada’s co-accused Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged “brains” behind the PhP10-billion pork barrel and the PhP900-million Malampaya Fund misuse, was also denied.

The Office of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has confirmed scoring a victory against Estrada.

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor confirms the bail petition of Senator Estrada has been denied by the Sandiganbayan,” Atty. Rawnsle Lopez, acting director of the Ombudsman Public Information and Media Relations Bureau, said in a text message to reporters.

According to a copy of the resolution uploaded on the Sandiganbayan website, the court turned literary and said that the phrase “lightning never strikes the same place twice” does not apply to Estrada.

“One cannot think ill of the saying ‘lightning never strikes the same place twice’ for it is now the standing paradox to Senator Estrada’s case,” the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ruled in a 250-page resolution.

The Sandiganbayan said that above the allegations of politicking by the OSP, it was able to prove strong evidence of Estrada’s guilt.

However, the Sandiganbayan said the denial of bail does not mean Estrada is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of plunder.

“Emptied of all public insinuations and political overtones that has incessantly hovered over this case from the beginning, and while this ruling does not portend to be a judgement of conviction for both accused, this Court has found that the prosecution has established a strong evidence of guilt to deny the petitions of both accused,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The Sandiganbayan had earlier asked the Supreme Court (SC) for an extension up to Jan. 13, 2016, within which to decide on Estrada’s bail resolution.

It took the Sandiganbayan over a year to decide on the petition since it first conducted hearings in July 2014.

Estrada is accused of allegedly receiving PhP183 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) through alleged ghost projects using the bogus foundations of Napoles.

He is incarcerated at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City together with Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Revilla’s bail petition was denied by the Sandiganbayan in December 2014.

The Sandiganbayan has yet to release a copy of the bail resolution. Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr./PNA / northboundasia.com