Sandiganbayan finds probable cause, orders Jinggoy Estrada’s arrest
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan fifth division on Monday found probable cause on the plunder and graft charges filed against Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and ordered his arrest in connection with the “pork barrel” scam.
“The Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against the accused,” the resolution said.
The court effectively denied the motion of the accused to suspend proceedings, defer the arrest warrant, and dismiss the case for lack of merit.
“Let warrants of arrest be issued against all the accused in the above-mentioned cases,” the resolution added.
Estrada’s co-accused in his plunder case who are included in the arrest warrant are Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the scam; John Raymund De Asis, Napoles’ employee; and Pauline Labayen, who is Estrada’s former deputy chief of staff.
Estrada’s co-accused in the graft case also included in the warrant are Labayen; Napoles; De Asis; Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos; Allan Javellana, former president of National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor); Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan, who are former directors general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC); Gondelina Amata, president of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC); Nabcor employees Rodhora Mendoza, Victor Cacal, Romulo Relevo, Maria. Ninez Guanizo, Maria Julie Villarolvo-Johnson; NLDC employees Emmanuel Sevidal, Sofia Cruz, Chita Jalandoni, Evelyn Sucgang, Gregoria Buenaventura; TRC employees Marivic Jover and Francisco Figura; Rosario Nunez; Lalaine Paule; Marilou Bare; Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana; and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu.
The resolution was signed by Associate Justice and Chairperson Roland Jurado, and members Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Alex Quiroz.
The Ombudsman, in indicting the senator, said Estrada amassed P183.795 million in commissions from 2004 to 2012 from the alleged illegal disbursement of his Priority Development Assistance Funds also known as “pork barrel” funds.
Estrada faces one count of plunder, a non-bailable offense, and 11 counts of graft.
Also charged were Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile and alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Revilla surrendered Friday to the anti-graft court a day after it found probable cause on the charges filed against him. He is now detained in Camp Crame.
This is not the first time that Estrada would be detained for plunder. He was detained with his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, in 2001 also for plunder but the senator was later acquitted and freed.
Estrada joins Revilla in detention on Monday
Jinggoy Estrada relieved as Sandigan defers issuance of arrest order
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