Jinggoy wishes to proceed with plunder trial
Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada has expressed his desire to push through with the trial for plunder for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
In his motion to set his case for trial filed before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, Estrada “prays that trial be scheduled as soon as possible.”
Estrada filed the motion after his last-ditch effort to stall the trial proper by raising issues on the signing of the pre-trial order was partly dismissed by the court.
“As all the matters for pre-trial have already been taken up, with the issues concerning the pre-trial order having been resolved, Sen. Estrada submits that the case be set for trial for the reception of the prosecution’s evidence-in-chief,” Estrada said in his motion.
In a resolution promulgated Aug. 14, the court partly denied Estrada’s motion, which cited defects in the draft pre-trial order and moved for the correction of its portions.
Estrada opposed the listing of the exhibits and the prosecution’s insistence to have him sign the pre-trial order, and disagreed with the alleged inaccurate description noted in the exhibits.
The court said the descriptions are mere “descriptions of the documents” meant to “aid” the trial proper, and that the list of exhibits does not make an impression that the accused has agreed to these pieces of evidence.
“There is no merit in accused Estrada’s fears that the list of proposed stipulations might be taken as him having admitted these, whether in whole or in part. It is clear that such proposed stipulations are just proposals,” the court said.
“Anent the accused movant’s complaint on the supposed inaccurate notes of his stipulation to some documents, the Court notes that the accused-movant did not identify which of the documents have erroneous descriptions or notes,” it added.
The court said whether or not Estrada agrees to sign the pre-trial order, “such order will be issued.”
The court thus, denied Estrada’s motion in so far as his request to exclude the proposed stipulation and to correct the descriptions. “Let a pre-trial order be issued forthwith,” the court said.
The resolution denying Estrada’s issues with the pre-trial order was signed by division chairperson Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, and concurred by Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz and Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
Estrada is charged with plunder for allegedly receiving P183 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was allegedly spent for ghost projects facilitated by bogus foundations of accused mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
He has been denied bail and remains in police custody with co-accused Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center. Revilla’s plunder trial has also begun.
Estrada is also accused of 11 counts of graft for violating Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law for allegedly causing injury to government and giving undue preference to Napoles’ bogus foundations to implement his ghost pork barrel projects. His graft trial is set on September. JPV
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