Voluminous evidence vs Estrada delays bail hearing
MANILA, Philippines – Voluminous documents to be used as evidence against Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada became the cause of delay during the first day of his bail hearing Tuesday, July 8.
This, after defense lawyers aired their concern about the prosecution's presentation of over 1,000 documents as evidence to prove that Estrada should not be allowed to post bail for his temporary liberty.
Estrada's lawyer Jose Flaminiano noted that the bail hearing is not supposed to ventilate exhaustively on all the trial evidence.
"Dapat ang pinakamadaling procedure ay dapat yung bail (hearing)," the lawyer told reporters. (The easiest procedure is supposed to be the bail hearing.)
"Eh nakita mo yung mga documents. Kung iisa-isahin mo yun, aabot tayo ng siyam-siyam," he added. (But you saw the documents. If we go through them one by one, it will eat up our time.)
Justice Alexander Gesmundo suggested instead that prosecution and defense lawyers proceed with pre-marking the evidence.
The parties also agreed that the prosecution submit to the defense on Monday morning a list of witnesses to be presented during the bail hearing.
As of 11 am, parties to the cases of Estrada were still pre-marking documents at the Sandiganbayan library.
Among the evidence that the prosecution listed to be presented during the bail hearing were the 452-page Commission on Audit report on the use of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the November 18 complaint executed by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO).
The prosecution likewise brought to the witness stand lawyer Vic Tagura Escalante Jr, graft and prosecution officer I in the Ombudsman FIO.
But Lawyer Stephen David, counsel for alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, blocked the testimony of Escalante.
David said only the key witnesses on the plunder of Estrada's PDAF should be presented during the bail hearing.
"(They should present) si Benhur [Luy], si Ruby [Tuason]. Yung may personal knowledge of the acts alleged in the information," he said.
(They should present Benhur [Luy] and Ruby [Tuason]. The ones with personal knowledge of the acts alleged in the information.)
Luy first revealed to authorities the scam of diverting lawmaker's development funds to fake projects of non-governmental organizations linked to Napoles. Tuason, on the other hand, admitted to being the recipient of Estrada's kickbacks from the scam.
In his charge sheet, Estrada allegedly pocketed kickbacks amounting to P183 million for allowing Napoles-controlled NGOs to divert his PDAF.
David said the prosecution strategy is simply to delay the bail hearings so the accused remain in jail. – Rappler.com