Jinggoy Estrada plunder trial to proceed, appeal denied
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division maintained that the plunder case against former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada remained strong as it denied his appeal on an earlier demurrer to evidence.
In a resolution dated Sept. 9 but made public only on Wednesday, the antigraft court said Estrada did not present new arguments that would warrant a reversal of the original decision to deny his demurrer.
“A careful examination of the present motions for reconsideration shows that the matters raised therein are mere reiterations which had been exhaustively discussed and resolved in the assailed resolution dated June 13, 2019,” the resolution said.
Estrada earlier filed a demurrer to evidence, which formally asks the court to evaluate the evidence presented by the prosecution, to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed.
A granted demurrer is tantamount to a dismissal of the case. However, since the court denied Estrada’s demurrer, his trial will proceed, with Estrada’s camp presenting defense evidence.
In his motion for reconsideration, Estrada maintained that since the criminal information did not specifically identify him as the main plunderer, the case against him should be dismissed.
However, the court said “the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to establish all the elements of the crime charged.”
The court reiterated that “the information adequately informed all the accused of the nature of the accusations against them” and that it is clear that the scheme would not have prospered if Estrada was not involved, hence, he is the main plunderer.
“It is clear that the main plunderer so to speak is no other than Estrada,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The court said Estrada’s repeated act of sending endorsement letters to agencies to assign bogus organizations for pork-funded projects “started the whole PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scheme.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.