Napoles asks Sandiganbayan: Why is Jinggoy out on bail?
MANILA, Philippines—If former senator Jinggoy Estrada was the main plunderer, why is he out on bail?
Pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles asked this question to the antigraft court Sandiganbayan after her bid to have another of her plunder case dismissed was junked by the court.
Napoles’ lawyers tried to untangle their client in the plunder case she shares with Estrada by arguing that the plunder complaint did not identify who the main plunderer was. In reply, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said there was no need to be explicit in the identity of the main plunderer in a case involving a public official because it is automatically the public official.
Estrada was able to post bail because of the prosecution’s failure to identify him as the main plunderer. Roni Garay, Napoles’ lead counsel, said the Napoles camp filed a motion to dismiss because of supposedly conflicting decisions of the Sandiganbayan when it declared Estrada as the main plunderer contrary to its decision to grant him bail.
The Napoles camp kept harking back to the plunder case involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in which the court required the identification of the main plunderer because everyone involved was a government official.
“Estrada is still out on bail because of the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan stating that he was not identified in the Information as the main plunderer,” said a press release from the Napoles camp.
Napoles previously filed a demurrer to evidence and other motions hinged on this claim. According to her lawyers, it was required by the Supreme Court in a separate plunder case involving Arroyo that a main plunderer be specified.
The Fifth Division suspended the hearings on Monday.
Napoles is charged with giving Estrada P55.79 million in kickbacks after the then senator allocated part of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles’ non-existent foundations.
Estrada failed in his bid to return to the Senate unlike his buddy, fellow actor Ramon “Bong” Revilla, who was also charged with but cleared of plunder for transacting with Napoles and getting kickbacks in exchange for letting their pork be used by Napoles’ bogus foundations./TSB
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