Jinggoy gets furlough for Erap’s birthday, but no partying till 2
The Sandiganbayan has allowed former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to leave detention for his father’s birthday bash although at a time his camp considered “too early for a party.”
At the same time, an announcement was made that Estrada’s plunder case will finally head to trial this June after three years.
In granting Estrada a six-hour furlough for Wednesday, 5 to 11 p.m., over the prosecution’s objection, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division cited “deeply embedded Filipino customs and traditions, covering respect and regard for parents and the elderly.”
Since Estrada also “appears to have complied with all the conditions of his detention,” the antigraft court authorized him to go to the Manila Hotel for the 80th birthday celebration of convicted former President and current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
But the actor-politician apparently wants to be granted later hours that are more conducive to partying, say 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
During the Monday hearing, Estrada tried to personally argue for a later schedule before the open court. But Fifth Division chairman Justice Rafael Lagos shot him down.
“This is a pretrial. This is not a mock—,” Lagos said, trailing off as he shook his head.
Lawyer Sabino Acut then explained what Estrada was trying to request: “5 p.m. is too early for a party. There might be no people yet at 5 p.m.”
Lagos replied: “Jinggoy has nothing to do with the party. Just tell Mayor Estrada to start early.”
Lagos said a formal plea would reopen the matter for deliberation and even risk of reversal.
Estrada had been detained since June 2014, after he was formally charged by Ombudsman prosecutors at the Sandiganbayan for allegedly obtaining P183.8 million in kickbacks upon endorsing dubious foundations to implement projects funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund proceeds.
During the Monday hearing, the antigraft court terminated the pretrial of Estrada’s plunder case, which concludes the preparation of evidence to be presented for the upcoming trial.
Lagos said the pretrial order governing the conduct of trial would be finalized by May 2. Afterwards, trial hearings would be held every Monday beginning June 19.
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