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Jinggoy Estrada confident he would be released from jail

/ 03:39 PM August 05, 2014

Senator Jinggoy Estrada. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Tuesday said that he’s “pretty confident” that he would soon be released from jail.

The detained senator said he believes that if not for the delaying tactics of the prosecution, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division would eventually allow him to post bail.

“The witnesses they present to the court have no probative value. I hope they present (Luy) and Ruby Tuason for the court to determine if I will be given bail or not,” he told reporters in an ambush interview after his bail petition hearing.

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The prosecutors fielded to the witness stand lawyer Vic Escalante, a fact-finding investigator from the Office of the Ombudsman, whose testimonies were found weak by the defense side.

Escalante told the court that during their investigation prior to the filing of cases against the P10-billion pork barrel scam suspects, his team surveyed some municipalities that Napoles allegedly listed as beneficiaries for her ghost projects.

He irked the defense lawyers for giving hearsay evidence by using second hand information from the people his group interviewed in Pangasinan province.

In one of Janet Lim-Napoles’ alleged ghost projects through fake nongovernment organizations, it listed some citizens from the Umingan town‎ as its beneficiaries.

The project in Umingan was allegedly funded by Estrada’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as endorsed by his staff Pauline Labayen.

The fact-finding investigator said ‎the municipal mayor of Umingan and one of its Barangay (village) chiefs denied having signed the memorandum of agreement approving the project of a Napoles NGO there.

“He does not have any knowledge that Luy delivered money to me or any person for that matter,” Estrada said‎.

‎Estrada, who was accompanied by his parents Manila mayor Joseph Estrada and Loi Ejercito, complained that the witnesses prosecutors are presenting “have nothing new to say.”

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“I hope they present strong witnesses to expedite this hearing. (My) time in jail is time wasted,” he lamented.

Asked if Escalante’s testimonies‎ would help his camp defend his petition before the court to post bail, he said: “Of course.”

“He’s not even sure that I amassed more than P50 million. He doesn’t even know that I received any kickback or whatever,” the senator added.

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TAGS: bail, bail hearing, Jinggoy Estrada, pork barrel scam, Vic Escalante
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