By: Czarina Nicole Ong
A group called the Filipinos Opposed to Corruption and Unjust System (FOCUS) has written a letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, asking him to take the necessary actions to revoke the bail of former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and send him back to jail for plunder.
Last September, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division voted 3-2 allowing Estrada to post bail for his plunder charge in connection with the anomalous use of his P183 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF), which went to the fictitious non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by Janet Lim Napoles. He also has an additional 11 counts of graft, which are bailable.
But since the Supreme Court recently denied the petition of Estrada to exclude the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on his bank transactions, FOCUS said it is high time that Estrada go back to jail.
FOCUS is asking Martires to file a “motion for reconsideration or a petition for certiorari for grave abuse of discretion on the part of the anti-graft court, albeit understandably beyond the reglementary period, in the hopes of overturning the said decision of the anti-graft court,” the letter dated October 10 read.
The group said it is “necessary” for Martires to take the appropriate measures because the SC’s decision only bolsters the case of the prosecution against Estrada and his cohorts.
Estrada, together with former Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, were charged with plunder and graft in 2014 for the reported kickbacks they received for pooling their PDAF to Napoles’ fake NGOs.
Estrada was accused of pocketing P183 million, while Enrile reportedly received P172 million. Revilla was said to have pocketed the highest amount – P242 million.
As for their graft charges, Revilla has the most number of cases. He was slapped with 16 counts in violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, while Enrile has 15 and Estrada has 11.
Enrile was already able to post bail for his jail sentence out of humanitarian considerations. Only Revilla remains detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.