Jinggoy Estrada’s pork scam graft trial finally begins

MANILA, Philippines – His temporary freedom came first but at last former senator Jinggoy Estrada’s graft trial over his involvement in the multibillion pork barrel scam finally began on Monday, September 25.

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan 5th Division rescheduled his plunder trial for October 2. (READ: SC acquittal of Arroyo helps Jinggoy Estrada get bail)

To start connecting the dots in the Estrada case, the prosecution brought on Monday officials from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Office of the Senate Secretary.

Marissa Santos, formerly the DBM's chief administrative officer, testified on the authenticity of Estrada’s special allotment release orders (SARO) for his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Lawyer Ma. Lourdes Arbas of the Office of the Senate Secretary testified on the authenticity of the senator’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

Estrada faces one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly receiving P183.793 in kickbacks from his pork barrel, some of which were supposedly personally delivered to his San Juan City home by his father’s former social secretary Ruby Tuason.

Meanwhile, Estrada said his father, former president and present Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada will undergo therapy for slipped disc.

"Okay naman kaya lang meron siyang slipped disc na na-discover. Medyo malaki ang bulge so the doctors advised him to undergo therapy," Estrada said. (He's okay except for a slipped disc that was discovered. The bulge is quite big so doctors advised him to undergo therapy.)

Thank you tour

Estrada attended Monday’s hearing though he intends to file a request with the court for a waiver to attend hearings. He promised, however, to attend “from time to time.”

Estrada said he plans to start his nationwide thank you tour in a month or 2 months' time, with a jumpoff point from Visayas.

"Meron akong personal reason for it (I have a personal reason for it)," Estrada said.

Among the supposed smoking guns of the prosecution against Estrada are check deposits to a bank account under the name Juan Ng. Kickbacks were allegedly deposited to this Juan Ng account, said the prosecutors.

With the aide of a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), prosecutors concluded that Juan Ng and Estrada are one and the same. 

An AMLC report on the bank deposits to Bong Revilla’s accounts which supposedly match with Benhur Luy’s journal entries of the kickbacks he delivered is the prosecution’s main weapon to pin down the movie star. Revilla’s plunder trial is already halfway, with the prosecution down to its last two witnesses before they rest their case. 

Former senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s graft and plunder charges are still in the pre-trial level. Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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