MANILA (Mabuhay) – Government prosecutors on Thursday renewed the call to immediately transfer Senator Jinggoy Estrada from his present detention in Camp Crame to a regular jail.
In their motion before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, the prosecutors said Estrada’s continued stay at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center “had no legal basis and that such special treatment was bad for the justice system.”
They reiterated the PNP Custodial Center, which housed officials of the PNP Custodial Center Service Unit, is “not a detention facility.”
Government lawyers argued that the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that an accused arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest must be delivered to the nearest police station or jail.
The prosecution described a jail “as a facility or place of confinement undergoing trial and is managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).”
The prosecution panel reminded the justices that Estrada was charged with plunder with penalty of reclusion perpetua [life imprisonment] to death, and is also being tried for graft also in connection with the alleged irregular use of his pork barrel allocation as senator, before the court.
They interpreted Estrada’s stay in Camp Crame as special treatment not enjoyed by others who are similarly situated. It also cited the controversy involving his wedding anniversary party inside the center.
“The special treatment given to him creates a negative image of the country’s court and justice system,” the prosecution said.
“It casts doubt on the government’s capacity to afford equal protection of the law to citizens,” the motion reads.
Estrada argued that his continued stay at the facility was not only reasonable, but also necessitated by “security and consideration.” The motion to transfer Estrada was deemed submitted for resolution of the court on July 31, but Estrada filed a supplemental opposition to the motion to transfer which has been set for oral argument on Aug. 15.
However, the prosecution panel insisted that Estrada’s supplemental opposition was improper and lacked merit as the motion to transfer had been deemed submitted for resolution and that oppositions and supplemental oppositions are not required to be set for hearing or oral arguments.
“Setting the supplemental opposition of accused Estrada for hearing/oral argument would serve no legal purpose and would unnecessarily delay the resolution of an incident which was already deemed submitted for resolution on July 31, 2014,” the prosecution said. (MNS)