Still no trial for Jinggoy Estrada; urges court to grant bail
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Detained former senator Jinggoy Estrada once more urged anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to grant him bail in connection with his non-bailable plunder charges over the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
"Lampas tatlong taon na kami in detention. Sana naman maunawaan ng korte ang aming kalagayan (We have been detained for over 3 years. I hope the court will understand our situation)," Estrada said after his hearing at the Sandiganbayan on Monday, September 4.
His graft trial over the pork barrel scam was supposed to start on Monday, but it was deferred to September 25 because the pre-trial order has not been signed.
His plunder trial, which has been deferred twice now, has no new schedule yet. It was postponed last July because Estrada's camp was still contesting documents that the prosecution wants included as evidence.
Estrada's camp was scolded by the court the last time for filing a late motion, but justices still postponed the trial to give due time to resolve it. Sandiganbayan 5th Division Chairperson Associate Justice Rafael Lagos said it looked like the Estrada camp was delaying.
Estrada denied it and said he has all the reasons to expedite his cases given that he has been detained for 3 years now. Estrada has a pending motion for bail before the court's 5th Division.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech that the court should grant Estrada and co-plunder defendant Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr bail to be consistent with the Supreme Court's decision to grant bail to another plunder defendant, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
"The President knows what he is talking about dahil being a prosecutor before, alam niya siguro, nabasa niya [ang] aming kaso, talagang wala naman talaga, pinili lang talaga kami kasi we were with the opposition in the last administration," Estrada said.
(The President knows what he's talking about. Being a former prosecutor, maybe he read our charges and there really is no case. We were just singled out because we were with the opposition in the last administration.)
Revilla's camp has expressed intentions to move for bail following Duterte's speech. (READ: PDAF cases, Duterte-time: Napoles confident of freedom 'in less than 2 years')
Estrada also said he will seek another medical furlough to undergo surgery for his shoulder, a recurring health issue for the former senator.
"Nagkaroon lang ng chills and high fever (I had chills and high fever). What I'm complaining of is my right shoulder that needs to be operated on," Estrada said on Monday.
Estrada was checked by Camp Crame doctors on August 28 because of "severe chest pain and difficulty in breathing." (READ: Let out of detention: Is the Sandiganbayan consistent?)
In a report sent to the court by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, Estrada was brought out of his jail cell afternoon of August 28 and into the emergency room of the PNP General Hospital (PNPGH).
"At about 6:20 pm, the X-ray examination of accused Estrada was exactly done. Thereafter, the Custodial Security Escort (CSE) brought back (Estrada) safely to the PNP Custodial Center where they arrived thereat about 6:08 pm," said PNP Custodial Center head Chief Inspector Rumulo Flores.
The PNP Custodial Center was earlier questioned by the court over Revilla's confinement at St Luke's in June without proper notification, more so approval, by the justices.
Revilla was at St Luke's on an authorized furlough to visit his father Ramon Revilla Sr when he suffered from high blood pressure and had to be confined.
Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg said the former senator's confinement was irregular since he did not secure permission from the court. – Rappler.com