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Sandiganbayan allows Jinggoy Estrada to join mother in trip

/ 05:33 AM October 02, 2018

The Sandiganbayan has allowed former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to accompany his mother, former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, on a medical trip to Singapore this week.

In a two-page resolution released on Monday, the court’s Fifth Division permitted Estrada to leave the country from Oct. 1 to 8.

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“The right to travel is a constitutional right which cannot be impaired except in cases provided for by law,” the court said.

It added that Estrada’s previous travels were allowed.

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The actor-politician is facing charges for plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly pocketing P183.8 million in kickbacks in exchange for diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to foundations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

The prosecution had contended that Estrada was a flight risk and failed to establish the necessity of the travel.

P2.66-M travel bond

The court would keep the P2.66-million travel bond posted by Estrada for his previous trips as guarantee of his compliance with the conditions.

Estrada had told the court that his mother was diagnosed with “severe compression deformity of the lumbar spine with vertebral body collapse.”

He said they would spend time at the Singapore Brain-Spine Nerves Center at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

The son of Manila Mayor and former President Joseph Estrada was detained from June 2014 until September 2017, when he was allowed to post bail after the court deemed the plunder case weak for failing to pinpoint a “main plunderer.”

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Since then, he was allowed to go to Singapore in November to accompany his father for medical treatment. He also took his family to Hong Kong on a vacation in December.

Estrada’s travel to the United States last May became controversial after the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) disowned the invitation he presented as proof of a speaking engagement in Michigan.

The Sandiganbayan let him go anyway, downplaying the USPGG’s online statement as mere “hearsay evidence.”

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TAGS: Jinggoy Estrada, Luisa Ejercito, pork barrel scam, Sandiganbayan
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