MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Monday called the charges against him “rushed” in a bid by the administration to boast that it was able to detain senators charged over the pork barrel scam.
After his arraignment before the Sandiganbayan on Monday, Estrada added that the charges against him were “politically motivated.”
Estrada was reacting to the special prosecutor’s move to amend the charge sheets of the senators. The prosecutors eventually withdrew their motion to amend Estrada’s information when told the senator would be released.
“The cracks are showing. The recent developments are indicative of the fact that the cases against us were rushed and railroaded and that due process of law was not observed…” Estrada said as he read his written statement after his arraignment.
“Gusto kasi nilang magpasikat at ipakita sa taumbayan na kaya nilang magpakulong ng tatlong senador kaya naman naghain agad sila ng information kahit alam nilang wala naman talagang kaso at walang matibay na ebidensiya laban sa akin,” he added.
(The administration wanted to show off and show to the nation that they are capable of detaining three senators, that’s why they filed the information immediately even though they know they don’t have a strong case and evidence against me.)
Estrada added that because of the administration’s “overzealousness to be glorified,” they “haphazardly filed” the case information before the anti-graft court.
“This also further bolsters what I have been saying all along that this is politically motivated with no other intent but to persecute the members of the opposition while protecting their allies,” he added.
He went on to call the plunder information against him “defective” and “weak” because the prosecution wanted to amend it.
“If there are ‘truckloads of evidence’ against us and that the case is ‘airtight,’ as they initially say, why is there a need to amend the information?” Estrada added.
The beleaguered senator said he hoped he would be granted bail from plunder because of supposed weak evidence.
“Kung talagang malakas ang kaso at maraming ebidensiya, dapat kahit nakapikit pa ang dalawang mata nila ay kaya nilang isulat nang malinaw at walang pagkakamali ang mga paratang laban sa akin,” Estrada added.
(If the case and evidence against me are strong, the prosecutors should be able to write the information against me with eyes closed and without error on the charges against me.)
According to an Ombudsman memorandum attached to prosecutor’s motion filed before the anti-graft court to admit the amended information, the special prosecutor said they amended the case information to make Estrada, not Janet Lim-Napoles, as the alleged mastermind of the scam.
“The introductory paragraph in each of the information may be rephrased so as to emphasize that the senator (Estrada) was the one who amassed, accumulated and acquired ill-gotten wealth in connivance or in conspiracy with his co-accused public officer and private individuals,” the memorandum read.
“The prosecutors deemed it wise to amend them to minimize, if not obviate, objections therein by certain accused which may cause undue delay in the proceedings,” it added.
According to the amended information, Estrada “(exerted) undue pressure on the implementing agencies to favorably act on his endorsements to the NGOs (non-government organizations) of Napoles…”
The special prosecutor had withdrawn its motions for the court to admit the amended information against Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
The prosecutors had withdrawn the motion to amend Estrada’s plunder sheet after the court warned them that Estrada may be released.
Meanwhile, the court denied the prosecutor’s motion for the court to admit the amended information on Revilla’s case.
This after the prosecution admitted that the original information can stand as sufficient information for the plunder case. (MNS)