Prosecution, defense indulge in blame-game over bail hearing delays
MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution and the defense in Senator Jose Jinggoy” Estrada’s plunder case engaged in a blame-game over the delay in the lawmaker’s bail hearing.
Estrada’s defense counsel Paul Mar Arias told the court that the prosecution has yet to file a stipulation of witnesses.
He made the statement after the prosecution failed to bring their next witness after whistleblower Mary Arlene Baltazar finished her testimony.
He also lamented that until now the prosecution has only fielded at three witnesses.
Fifth Division Associate Justice Roland Jurado said both parties should find a way to expedite the bail hearing.
“(If we keep going on like this), I think we will finish this after the elections,” Jurado said.
The prosecution denied they are causing the delay and blamed the defense for constantly filing several motions to intentionally hold-up the hearing.
“That’s what they’ve been doing with their motions,” prosecutor Maria Christina Batacan said.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, also part of the prosecution, pointed out that the defense kept on questioning the evidence even during the pre-marking of documents.
He said under the rules, the defense should only pose objections to evidence upon the formal offer.
Arias rebutted that it was the prosecution’ which delayed the proceedings by constantly asking the defense to file comments.
After the hearing, Estrada denied that his camp is intentionally delaying the proceedings, pointing instead at the prosecutors as the ones prolonging the bail hearing to keep him in jail.
“It’s a clear case of delaying the proceedings… Ba’t ’ko naman gustong patagalin eh ako ang nakakulong?” Estrada said in an interview.
On the other hand, the bail hearing of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. nears its conclusion after the prosecution finished fielding the whistleblowers against Revilla’s bail motion.
Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for plunder with fellow senator Revilla. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, meanwhile, is under hospital detention.
Accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles is detained in Camp Bagong Diwa female dormitory with Enrile’s co-accused Atty. Jessica Lucila Reyes.
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