Jinggoy Estrada free for now

Lian Buan

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Jinggoy Estrada free for now
(2ND UPDATE) Former senator Jinggoy Estrada posts a P1.33-million bail for plunder and graft charges stemming from the pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Former senator Jinggoy Estrada posted bail before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Saturday, September 16, and gained temporary freedom after 3 years and 3 months in detention.

Estrada, through his lawyers, paid a P1.33-million bail – P1 million for his plunder charge, as set by the Special 5th Division which granted his bail petition on Friday; and  P330,000 for 11 counts of graft or P33,000 for each count. (READ: SC acquittal of Arroyo helps Jinggoy Estrada get bail)

Estrada’s lawyer, Alexis Abastillas-Suarez, arrived in court before 9 am. They were only able to pay bail at 10 am due to some confusion in procedure.‬

The Sandiganbayan issued a release order for Estrada after the payment was made. The court sheriff brought the order to Camp Crame, and brought the former senator to court for final processing prior to his release.

Estrada left Camp Crame past noon, and completed the process at the Sandiganbayan around 1:10 pm.

Suarez told the media that Estrada will have lunch with his family after his release. He will hear mass with his family, friends, and supporters at the St John the Baptist Church in San Juan at 3 pm.

‘Weak case vs Estrada’

‪Abastillas-Suarez said the bail grant is an indication of a weak case against Estrada. ‬

‪”Ever since naman sinasabi namin (we have been saying that) the evidence against him is not strong….Because the evidence of the prosecution in the bail hearing will be adopted by the court in the trial of the case,” Suarez said.‬

The court promulgated the decision Friday afternoon, September 15, and sent its sherriff to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame where Estrada was detained just after 4 pm.

‪The Sandiganbayan cashier and docket always have a skeletal workforce on Saturdays, but to accomodate Estrada, the clerk of court and sherriff offices were also open that day.

The court had extended office hours in the past to accommodate defendants who notify them in advance, as in the case of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who posted bail in August 2015. Estrada, however, opted to wait until the next morning.

Estrada was detained in Camp Crame on June 23, 2014. When the 5th Division issued his warrant of arrest, he did not surrender to the court but instead to his father, former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

While in detention, Estrada managed to spend some time with his family outside jail.

The court had granted him medical furloughs, and also allowed him to attend the high school graduation of his son, Julian, in March 2015, and make a hospital visit to  his mother-in-law, Estelita Vitug, in July 2015. In April, he was allowed to attend his father’s 80th birthday bash. Rappler.com


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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.