Revilla has ‘mixed emotions’ over Estrada’s looming release
Former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was having mixed feelings over the reported impending release from detention of his colleague, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who, like him, was charged with plunder in relation to his alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In an ambush interview on Thursday at the Sandiganbayan after his plunder trial, Revilla expressed sadness that Estrada might be leaving him at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center detention center anytime soon.
“Speechless. Pero siyempre, I’m happy for him,” Revilla said.
Revilla even chuckled that Estrada, whose detention cell is just next to him, has already started packing his things.
“Nakakalungot lang na iiwan na ako ni Senator Jinggoy eh,” Revilla also said. “Medyo nagbabalot. Medyo nagbabalot-balot na.”
Revilla said his lawyers are currently studying the possibility of also filing a second bail petition
“Siguro naman, gagawin din namin kung ginawa ni Senator Jinggoy ang second petition for bail. Kaya naniniwala ako na mayroon pa ring hustisiya dito sa ating bansa. Dasal lang,” Revilla noted.
Estrada, however, denied that he was already packing up his things for his alleged imminent release.
“Hindi ako nagliligpit. No movement,” Estrada said in a statement.
The Sandiganbayan is expected to release its decision soon on Estrada’s second motion for bail. Sources claimed that the decision might be in favor of Estrada.
A highly placed source feared Estrada’s looming release from detention might cause a “domino effect” on the related plunder cases involving Revilla and former senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
The three senators were charged in 2014 for allegedly earning millions of kickbacks from their respective PDAF. The elderly Enrile was granted bail for humanitarian reasons.
Revilla and Enrile have been accused of receiving kickbacks from allegedly bogus projects thru the PDAF amounting to P224.5 million and P172.8 million, respectively.
The Sandiganbayan earlier denied Revilla and Estrada’s respective petitions to post bail.
It was in 2016 that Estrada’s first bail plea was denied by the graft court, citing strong evidence of guilt against the former senator. Estrada subsequently filed an appeal but the court consequently rejected it months later.
According to a source, Estrada’s latest motion was meant to “circumvent” the court’s prohibition on a second motion for reconsideration.
The source added that if the graft court decides on the motion in favor of Estrada, the Ombudsman is inclined to take the matter to the Supreme Court (SC).
In his omnibus motion, Estrada asserted that the prosecution failed to prove that he was the “main plunderer” in the alleged scheme, citing the SC decision that dismissed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plunder case due to the failure to prove the “corpus delicti“.
Estrada said that assuming the allegation that he pocketed P183.79 million was correct, the threshold amount of P50 million would not be met because the P183.79 million kickbacks would have to be divided among the four main accused in the case.
This means that the former senator’s alleged kickbacks would only amount to P45.9 million— short of the P50 million threshold for plunder, Estrada contended.
In the same motion, Estrada, a son of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, maintained that he is not a flight risk.
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