Halt in pork scam probe proves ‘politically motivated’ prosecution, Jinggoy tells SC
For former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the National Bureau of Investigation’s decision not to look into the pork barrel scam beyond the network of alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles proved that his prosecution was “selective and politically motivated.”
Estrada claimed this before the Supreme Court in a March 9, 2018 supplement to his June 20, 2014 petition questioning the Ombudsman’s March 28, 2014 order to charge him with plunder. The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division received a copy of the SC filing last April 2.
The pleading cited the testimony of National Bureau of Investigation agent Rodante Berou, who said during the trial that the agency stopped its investigation after the “third batch” of complaints were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman in August 2015.
Berou said the agency no longer investigated the misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations beyond those by nongovernment organizations linked to alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
“After we filed this case of three batches, the management of the NBI stopped us from investigating other PDAF, not only Napoles, but also non-Napoles legislators,” Berou was quoted as saying.
Estrada interpreted Berou’s statement as proof that the “disparity of treatment between the members of the (then) Administration and the leaders of the (then) Opposition is unmistakable.”
This was despite the fact that the complaints included politicians then aligned with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, such as then-Customs Commissioner (now-Muntinlupa Rep.) Ruffy Biazon, then-Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (now-Senator) Joel Villanueva, and then-Cagayan de Oro 2nd Dist. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
Estrada maintained he was denied due process and the right to the equal protection of the laws.
The actor-politician is currently facing trial for plunder and graft for allegedly receiving P183.8 million in kickbacks in exchange for diverting his PDAF proceeds to fraudulent nongovernment organizations linked to Napoles. He recently admitted in television interviews that he was “inclined to run again for the Senate” in the 2019 elections.
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