Jinggoy’s furlough bid to attend ma’s birthday denied with finality
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has denied with finality the request for furlough of detained Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to attend the 85th birthday celebration of his mother, former Sen. Loi Ejercito Estrada tonight.
In a resolution, the antigraft court’s fifth division denied Estrada’s motion for reconsideration, which cited a letter from his mother that appealed to the court’s compassion to allow her son to attend her birthday.
The court reiterated that Estrada as a detention prisoner could not be granted his freedom like an ordinary man.
In the letter of former Senator Loi, she said “there is nothing sweeter to a mother’s ear than to see all her children, even for a brief moment.
“As a mother, my children are the greatest and most fulfilling gifts in my life. In my 85th year, there is nothing more I aspire but for my children and the whole family and friends to join me as I celebrate my time of thanksgiving … When my children are complete, a mother’s heart soars!” she said.
But the court chose to keep away from Estrada’s mother’s pleas, maintaining Estrada’s liberties were limited as a detention prisoner.
“While this court does not remain insensitive to the significance entailed in celebrating family values especially now that Sen. Loi Ejercito Estrada is celebrating her 85th birthday, such fact cannot simply override, but should rather restrain, the consequences attached to a detention prisoner,” the court said.
Still on trial
“Senator Estrada, despite the number of months he is now under detention, is still on trial. He is, like all other detention prisoners, subjected to restriction in locomotion or actual physical movement,” it added.
The court said it only granted emergency temporary leaves from imprisonment, and that Estrada could celebrate his mother’s birthday inside his detention facility at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
“It will be a mockery of the justice system if Senator Estrada be allowed at his whim, or that of his family, to attend his mother’s birthday celebration that can nonetheless be held or celebrated within his proximity,” the court said.
In its earlier decision junking the request, the court said it was consistent with its previous rulings that disallowed Estrada, save for the decision which allowed him to attend the high school graduation of his son Julian Emilio at OB Montessori in San Juan City, which the court granted not for Estrada but for the child.
“Penchant to the prior rulings of this court save for allowing him in attending his son’s graduation ceremony, Senator Estrada cannot be granted furlough to attend his mother’s 85th birthday celebration,” the court said.
The court said allowing Estrada would set a bad precedent and would make a mockery of the justice system.
‘Liberties of a free man’
“What the accused seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing the accused to hear Mass outside the confines of his prison would accord him the liberties of a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates the accused’s status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system,” the court said.
In his motion, Estrada asked for a five-hour leave from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on June 5 so he could attend his mother’s thanksgiving celebration at Blue Leaf Filipinas, Aseana City, in Parañaque City.
“The mother of accused Sen. Jinggoy Estrada informed the undersigned that having reached the age of 85 years old and with her family whole and together she would like to give thanks to her Maker and to those who have been part of her life by having a dinner-celebration on (June 5, 2015) together with family and friends,” Estrada’s motion said.
Estrada is facing plunder and graft charges over the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles. His mother Loi herself has been identified by witnesses as also having dealt with Napoles.
Napoles is serving a separate life sentence for the serious illegal detention of pork scam principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
The hearings on the pork barrel scam have resulted in the detention for plunder of Senators Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as former Representatives Rizalina Seachon Lanete and Edgar Valdez. With Ma. Rhona Ysabel Daoang/RC
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