MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report implicating former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada in allegedly receiving millions through the 2013 pork barrel scam can be used as evidence against him, the Supreme Court (SC) said Sunday, October 7.
The SC, in an 11-page resolution, dismissed as “moot and academic” Estrada’s petition urging the SC to deem the AMLC report inadmissible in his plunder trial at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. The SC resolution was penned by Justice Lucas Bersamin.
How did the SC rule? Estrada in 2015 told the SC that using the AMLC report will violate his constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial. But the SC held that even without the AMLC informing Estrada of the probe, the AMLC did not examine bank accounts “whimsically” and in the manner that Estrada feared it to become – a “fishing expedition.”
As for Estrada’s petition being moot and academic, the High Court recognized in its ruling that the ex-senator has already been granted bail by the Sandiganbayan, which at the same time junked Estrada’s motion to dismiss the case.
“Considering that the resolutions assailed trace their roots to the bail hearing of Estrada, the aforementioned conclusions of the Sandiganbayan relevant to his bail application, and the eventual grant of bail to him have rendered his petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus moot and academic,” the SC said in its ruling.
Why does this matter? The AMLC report forms a huge part of the evidence against alleged plunderer Estrada.
A 90-page AMLC report alleged that Estrada received P157.6 million in kickbacks for siphoning off his pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2012 to foundations or nongovernmental organizations controlled by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The AMLC said dummy accounts under the names of Francis Yenko and Juan Ng were used for the transactions with 9 bank accounts of Estrada. – Rappler.com