Prosecutors want Estrada, co-accused detained in BJMP jails
MANILA, Philippines — The prosecutors on Monday decried the alleged special treatment on pork barrel scam suspect Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, saying the senator and his co-accused should be detained at a city jail.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor said Estrada and alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles should be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, or other jails under BJMP.
Estrada is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center while Napoles is at Fort Sto. Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna, on a separate illegal detention charge.
In their motion, the prosecutors said the PNP Custodial Center is not a detention facility because it was originally built as barracks for officials of the PNP Custodial Service Unit.
Meanwhile, Napoles should also be transferred because the suspect is detained at a facility far from the Sandiganbayan, the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors also said Fort Sto. Domingo is not a detention facility for accused facing trial, adding that the expenses incurred for Napoles’ trips from Laguna to Sandiganbayan are too “burdensome” for the government.
The motion said according to the law, only the jails under the BJMP are mandated to secure inmates awaiting trial.
“Aside from its lack of basis, the continued detention of accused at their present locations affords them special treatment as they are subjected to different rules and procedure not afforded to all other detention prisoners under BJMP control,” the motion read.
The prosecutors noted the reported wedding anniversary of Estrada held in his detention cell at the custodial center and attended by family members.
“The special treatment creates a negative image of the country’s court and justice system,” the prosecutors said.
“The prosecutors thus submit that accused, being detainees, should be detained in a BJMP facility just like other detainees. They should not be granted privileges or treatment distinct from all others similarly situated,” the panel added.
Estrada faces plunder and graft charges over the pork barrel scam. He surrendered to the police after an arrest warrant was issued.
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