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Ombudsman to Jinggoy: Relax in PH, not HK

/ 07:30 AM December 15, 2018

Former senator Jinggoy Estrada. Photo by Noy Morcoso

Ombudsman prosecutors have objected to plunder case accused Jinggoy Estrada’s plea to relax in Hong Kong before the election campaign.

In a four-page opposition, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) argued there was “no necessity or urgency for the travel” requested by Estrada because “he can better spend his holidays here.”

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“Indeed, celebrating the holidays in the Philippines is more fun than anywhere else,” the prosecution said.

The OSP said the right of an accused to travel was “not absolute” and was “subject to the usual restraints.”

The prosecution added that Estrada failed to submit a travel itinerary and provide any telephone number to be used overseas.

5-star hotel

It noted that he only informed the court of his plan to stay at the five-star Marco Polo Hotel.

“He cannot be expected to just stay exclusively within the confines of his hotel. Indeed, without the said itinerary, his whereabouts cannot be reasonably determined,” the opposition read.

Estrada, who is out on bail for one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly pocketing P183.8 million of his pork barrel allocations, is running for senator again.

He sought the Sandiganbayan’s permission to leave the country for five days (Dec. 26 to 31) to spend the holidays with his family and “have a rest from the pressure of his everyday concerns before the campaign period.”

Since the court’s Fifth Division allowed him to post bail in September 2017, Estrada had gone on four overseas trips.

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Happy trips

Last year, he went to Singapore in November to accompany his father, pardoned plunder convict and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, for medical treatment. The following month, he took his family to Hong Kong for vacation.

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

The Sandiganbayan still let him go anyway.

After that, Estrada went again to Singapore last October, this time to accompany his mother, Luisa Ejercito, on a medical trip.

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