Jinggoy Estrada asks court to lift freeze order on assets
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has asked the antigraft court to reverse its order to temporarily freeze his assets believed to be part of his loot in the pork barrel scam, saying he has no plans of concealing his wealth.
“Estrada has not concealed, removed or disposed of his property, nor is he about to do so,” according to his motion for reconsideration to the decision of the Sandiganbayan to garnish P183.793 million worth of his properties in a notice of writ of attachment or garnishment.
Estrada said even the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), in its report which detailed how Estrada got kickbacks from accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles through conduits, showed that his assets “are intact and have not been concealed or removed.”
But Estrada seemed to have forgotten to indicate that he closed down four of his bank accounts containing P76.4 million at the time the scandal erupted in the media.
The detained senator accused of plunder said these accounts were closed September 2013 or way before the case was filed against him and thus could not be used against him.
The court had agreed with the prosecution’s claim that Estrada exhibited a tendency to hide his wealth when he closed down four bank accounts.
“If four of his accounts were closed way back in September of 2013, the same cannot be taken against (him) because this case was not yet in existence at that time,” the motion said.
Estrada also said “he had all the right in the world to withdraw from, or close, said accounts without violating any existing law, rule or regulation.”
“The alleged closure of said bank accounts is not prohibited, not in violation of any law, and should not be considered a ground for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment or garnishment,” the motion said.
Estrada then urged the court to lift the garnishment that would attach Estrada’s assets to ensure the senator would not be able to dispose of these in the course of the proceedings.
Estrada, detained for plunder at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, is accused of pocketing at least P183.793 million from his PDAF through ghost projects under the scheme of Napoles.
The AMLC report, the prosecution’s most explosive evidence yet pinning Estrada to the scam, detailed how Estrada’s alleged conduits Francis Yenko and Juan Ng received millions of alleged kickbacks from Napoles and her NGOs, and transferred these to the different bank accounts of Estrada.
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