Ombudsman to file motion for reconsideration on Jinggoy Estrada’s petition for bail

admin   •   September 19, 2017   •   4860

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has maintained having strong evidence against former Senator Jinggoy Estrada in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval said they will appeal to the anti-graft court to recall the temporary freedom granted to Estrada.

Sandoval added that it is not right to reverse the decision of the previous set of justices of the 5th division who previously denied the petition for bail of the former senator.

“It is not right procedurally that on the basis of the same facts, same evidence, same exhibits, the former division has decided yet the [current division] will now entitle him for bail,” said Sandoval.

Sandoval said no member of the previous set of justices in the 5th division is included in the new set who granted the bail petition of Estrada.

The former senator cited the Supreme Court’s decision on the bail petition of the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The highest court said the PCSO’s cases have not shown the “main plunderer” in the scam in which the former president was allegedly involved.

The Office of the Ombudsman said Arroyo’s case should not be compared with Estrada’s because the latter involves private individuals while in Arroyo’s case, all involved were government officials.

“In other words, even if the co-conspirator has performable 1 part or several in the continuous concatenation of criminal acts he will be considered the main or principal accused. If the charge is plunder, he will be considered the main plunderer,” said the prosecutor.

The Office of the Ombudsman is still confident that they also have a strong case against Janet Lim-Napoles even if she is not a government official.

If somebody is also charged in conspiracy with you, that somebody is liable and he can be classified already as public officer for purposes of convicting.

Sandoval believes in the integrity of the Sandiganbayan and he hopes that the justices will recall the granting of bail to Estrada.

“I still trust that the Sandiganbayan justices cannot be controlled by politics. I  was there for 16 years and it is only hearsay that there are politicians that are intervening,” said Sandoval. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

Malacañang reminds charity groups to coordinate with LGUs for relief ops after Jinggoy’s arrest

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has reiterated its call on humanitarian groups to coordinate first with local government units (LGUs) before conducting relief operations especially when the government is implementing strict protocols in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. 

The reminder comes after the arrest of former Senator Jinggoy Estrada for allegedly violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) when he distributed goods to the people of San Juan City.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque stressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s plea to set aside politics while the country is battling COVID-19.

“Nakikiusap po kami doon sa mga nais magkawanggawa na makipag-coordinate po tayo sa LGUs dahil doon sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan, kinakailangan pong magkaroon ng safeguards nang hindi po magkumpol-kumpulan at dagsain kayo ng taumbayan [We ask humanitarian missions to coordinate with the LGUs because there must be safeguards in relief operations to make sure that people will not crowd the relief distribution],” Roque stressed.

Kinakailangang magkaroon ng hakbang upang masigurado ang social distancing habang namimigay ng ayuda [There must be protocols to make sure that social distancing is observed during relief distribution],” he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) explained that the former senator did not coordinate with San Juan City LGU in his relief operations which led to his arrest. 

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, Estrada and his team are not even considered authorized persons outside of residence.

Nakita ko sa video may mga pagsuway sa physical distancing [I saw in the video that there were violations of social distancing protocols],” the official said.

Pati ang mga seniors at saka minors ay lumabas din ng bahay. Another pagsaway na naman iyon [Even seniors and minors went out of their houses. That’s another violation],” he added.

Though they understand the former lawmaker’s intention to help, Año said that does not exempt him from following strict ECQ guidelines. 

“Kung kaaway naman niya ang LGU, pwede naman ang OCD [If he’s in conflict with the LGU, he can go straight to the (Office of the Civil Defense)],” Secretary Año said.

Ibigay mo ang gusto mong ipamigay doon, and let OCD do its job dahil may mga ahensya naman sa ilalim niyan [You distribute goods there and let the OCD do its job as there are agencies under it that can assist you],” he added.

But Estrada maintained he did not violate any law but instead, local politics had a hand in his arrest. 

“Why are they singling me out? Just because I am an Estrada? Bawal na ba kaming tumulong dito sa [Are we banned from helping the people of] San Juan?” Estrada said. 

“Noon pa lang sinasabi niya na huwag tutulungan ang mga rolling store namin [Even back then he discouraged others from helping our rolling stores] So, you expect me to get a fair shake? I don’t think so,” he added.

However, Mayor Francis Zamora denied the allegation reiterating that Estrada violated the ECQ protocols.

Zamora noted that he even granted a one-day permit to the former senator’s daughter, former San Juan Vice Mayor Janella Estrada when she requested a permit for their rolling drugstore.

Zamora maintained that the arrest of Estrada had nothing to do with politics but with law and order especially amid the coronavirus pandemic wherein strict measures must be observed. 

The Estrada clan is the archrival of the Zamoras in San Juan City.

Estrada was later released from the San Juan Police Station. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Sandiganbayan junks raps vs Purisima, Napeñas over Mamasapano clash

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and ex-PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas over the Mamasapano clash in 2015.

The dismissal of the charges against the two former police officers was due to the lack of probable cause to charge them of graft and usurpation of official functions complaints for their involvement in the anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

The said operation led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Purisima was charged for still leading the operation to kill terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, under Oplan Exodus, despite being suspended as the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Napeñas, on the other hand, was also charged for allegedly conspiring with Purisima.

Based on the resolution, Purisima and Napeñas cannot be charged due to the lack of sufficient evidence.

“There is no mention in the information, nor any evidence on record, that accused Napeñas received or expected to receive any material remuneration or consideration therefor,” the resolution states. “It could not be said that Purisima was under the pretense of being a PNP chief because he was ordered by his president and commander-in-chief to perform such supervision and monitoring.”

Purisima and Napeñas were charged with violating Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law which punishes “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations.”

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan said the dismissal of the criminal complaints did not mean that the two accused had no liability over the Mamasapano clash and appropriate charges can still be filed against them.

“What the court merely ruled is the non-existence of probable cause against Napeñas in both charges and the insufficiency of the allegations in the information filed against Purisima,” the resolution reads.—AAC

Ombudsman lambasts journalist over disrespect, ‘SALN wiretapping’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 19, 2019

Ombudsman Samuel Martires

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (December 18) lambasted journalist Malou Mangahas for secretly recording him in an informal conversation regarding his decision not to release President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2018.

In a statement, Judge Martires stressed that what he had with Mangahas was never a formal interview but a brief, informal conversation while the journalist was being persistent, tailing him in the hallway of a hotel in Manila on Monday (December 9).

Martires said he was never informed by Mangahas that she was already interviewing him and worse, he was not informed that the journalist was already recording him.

“For the record, hindi humingi ng consent mula sa akin bilang interviewee si Ms. Mangahas para irekord ang aming kaswal na pag-uusap (Ms. Mangahas did not ask for my permission to record our casual conversation),” Martires said.

“Sa ganang akin, hindi lamang niya nilapastangan ang aking pagkatao ngunit nilabag pa niya ang Anti-Wiretapping Law (For my part, she did not only disrespect my person but she also violated the Anti-Wiretapping Law),” he stressed.

Martires continued saying Mangahas showed an “unethical behavior” unbecoming of a veteran journalist and writer.

Martires insisted that while he recognizes the public’s right to access SALNs of public officials, he is mandated to protect their rights as well under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 6713.

In reaction to Martires’ claims, Mangahas posted on the website of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) her side of the story.

“Ombudsman Martires knew that as a public official with expertise and mandate on the issues raised, he was speaking face-to-face with a journalist with a legitimate journalistic purpose, on a matter of public interest. The conversation occurred in a public space and even with the full knowledge and in full view of his own personnel from the Office of the Ombudsman,” the PCIJ Executive Director said.

“PCIJ respects the views of Ombudsman Martires on this matter but respectfully insists, too, that all he has to do now is release President Duterte’s SALN for 2018, pending the long-awaited issuance of his new guidelines, and consistent with the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman as ‘the Protector of the People,’” she added.

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