MANILA — Sandiganbayan 5th Division has issued an arrest warrant Monday for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, one of the lawmakers implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, facing one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.
“The Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against the accused,” the court resolution stated, signed by Associated Justice and Chairman Roland Jurado, and Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Alex Quiroz.
Thourt found probably cause in the graft and plunder charges filed against Estrada and decided to deny any motion to delay or suspend proceedings, dismiss the case “for lack of merit,” and any attempt to resist the arrest warrant altogether.
Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel fund scam, is also included in the arrest warrant for plunder. As well as JLN employee John Raymund De Asis and Estrada’s former chief of staff Pauline Labayen. The three were also named in the graft case arrest warrant, together with 22 other people, including Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and former directors general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan.
The Ombudsman reported that Estrada gained P183.795 milliom from 2004 to 2012 as his ‘kickback’ from the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
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With report from Marc Cayabyab and Tetch Tupas