Sandiganbayan junks Estrada request for All Saints’ Day furlough
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan fifth division has denied Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s request for furlough on All Saints’ Day.
In a resolution released on Thursday, the anti-graft court said Estrada’s request for a five-hour pass to visit his departed loved ones on November 1 has no merit.
The court said granting Estrada’s furlough may make a “mockery” of the administration of justice.
It added that Estrada as a detainee for plunder over the pork barrel scam does not enjoy to its fullest his civil or political rights.
“Being a detention prisoner, just like all other detention prisoners, (Estrada) cannot be allowed the full enjoyment of his rights, be it civil or political,” the resolution read.
“We rule that to allow (Estrada) to leave his detention cell will not only set a bad precedent, but will likewise be regarded as a mockery of the administration of justice,” it added.
The court also said granting Estrada’s furlough may be costly to government.
Estrada had sought a five-hour pass on November 1 for him to visit his grandmother Lola Mary, grandfather Lolo Emilio, father-in-law Reynaldo Vitug, uncles George and Paulino, sister Jessica, as well as his best friend, actor Rudy Fernandez, who died of cancer in 2008.
Estrada said he hoped to visit his kin in San Juan Cemetery, and his best friend at the Heritage Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio.
Estrada sought a 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. schedule for him “to leave his present place of detention, under escort of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center personnel, to be able to go to the San Juan City Cemetery and Heritage Park at Fort Bonifacio.”
Estrada, fellow Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., and Revilla’s aide Richard Cambe are detained at the PNP Custodial Center as they face plunder charges over their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Meanwhile, Estrada’s co-accused Pauline Labayen fled from her plunder raps.
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is under hospital arrest.
Accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles is detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig with Enrile’s co-accused and resigned chief of staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes.
They are accused of participating in the alleged scheme of using lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds to ghost projects for kickbacks.