After 3 years in jail, Jinggoy Estrada walks free
Published: 12:42 p.m., Sept. 16, 2017 | Updated: 4:58 p.m., Sept. 16, 2017
After more than three years of detention, former senator Jinggoy Estrada walked out of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame on Saturday a free man.
Estrada, who was accused of plunder and anti-graft and corruption charges, was released around 12:30 p.m. after posting bail of P1.33-million at the Sandiganbayan.
Wearing a navy blue jacket, pink shirt and sunglasses, Estrada immediately went to the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division via convoy to have his fingerprints taken and wait for his release papers to be processed.
He was accompanied by his wife, Precy, and all his children – San Juan Vice Mayor Janella, Jolo, Julian, and Jill, as well as his brother Jude.
In an interview, Estrada said he was very happy and elated to be reunited with his family.
“I can’t express my feelings right now but certainly I’m very very happy, very elated,” he said.
The former senator said he hoped his friend, former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., would also be granted temporary liberty.
“Sabi ko palakasin niya ang loob niya at balang araw ay makakamit din niya ang kanyang kalayaan,” he said.
(I told him to be strong and someday he would also get his freedom.)
While refusing to comment if the granting of his bail could lead to the dismissal of his case, Estrada maintained his innocence and said it was for the court to decide on the merits of the case.
“It is for the courts to decide on it, not me. I deny all the allegations against me. Wala po akong ninakaw sa taong-bayan,” he said.
Asked of his plans about returning to politics, Estrada answered: “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there.”
He said he had no plans yet of running for the 2019 midterm elections.
After processing his release papers, Estrada proceeded to San Juan, his hometown, to have lunch with his family, friends, and supporters.
He then went to the Pinaglabanan Church for a thanksgiving Mass.
Estrada’s release came a day after the anti-graft court ruled that “there was no strong evidence” that Estrada was the “main plunderer” in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The Sandiganbayan said that it was businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, tagged as the mastermind of the corruption scheme, who appeared to have the “extensive control” in the scam.
Last year, the court, which had a different composition of judges, denied Estrada’s bail plea for lack of merit.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense. /idl /atm
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