State prosecutors want Jinggoy Estrada scolded for delaying pork scam case
MANILA, Philippines – State prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to scold Senator Jinggoy Estrada and his lawyers for delaying the proceedings in his plunder case over the pork barrel scam.
In an opposition filed before the anti-graft court fifth division, the prosecution also opposed Estrada’s bid to nullify the immunity from charges granted by the Ombudsman to principal scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Estrada said Luy, who served as Janet Lim-Napoles’ trusted financial officer, is among the most guilty in the crime and cannot be immune from charges.
The prosecutors said in filing the motion, Estrada’s camp wanted to delay the proceedings and “hinder the presentation of evidence that is damaging to him.”
“The People of the Philippines respectfully prays that this Honorable Court admonish accused Estrada and his defense team and direct them to refrain from further acts to delay these proceedings for the purpose of preventing the presentation of damaging evidence,” the opposition read.
The panel said Estrada cannot question before the Sandiganbayan the grant of immunity to Luy because it is the Supreme Court and not the anti-graft court that has discretion over the Ombudsman’s grant of immunity.
“Like Estrada’s earlier attempts to delay these proceedings and prevent damaging evidence from being introduced against him in open court, the motion is doomed from the very beginning,” the opposition read.
Luy had testified in Estrada’s bail hearing and accused him of amassing millions of kickbacks from the scam.
Estrada is facing plunder and graft charges for being involved in the alleged scheme of pillaging his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.
The filing of plunder charges resulted in the detention of Estrada and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, and accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and aide Jessica Lucila Reyes in the Camp Bagong Diwa female ward. Meanwhile, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is under hospital detention over the scam.
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