By Czarina Nicole Ong
Former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada is now a free man.
This, after the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division voted 3-2 allowing him 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 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) owned by Janet Lim Napoles. He also has an additional 11 counts of graft, which are bailable.
Sources from the Sandiganbayan’s Sheriff’s Office said they are now going to his detention cell to serve the resolution that would allow him to post bail. However, members of the media were not able to get a hold of the said resolution.
Estrada earlier filed an omnibus motion in an attempt to get bail for his plunder charge, since he is suffering from a “long and continued confinement…” even “with no assurances when it would be terminated.”
Because of this, Estrada said his jail sentence has affected his “mental, physical and emotional dispositions and disturbs/rocks his sanity.”
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.
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