MANILA — Government prosecutors on Monday blocked the motion filed by the camp of detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada to conduct Senate inquiries inside Camp Crame, being the chairman of the Committee on labor, employment and human resources development.
In their opposition, the prosecution team asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to deny Estrada’s motion since it has no legal basis.
“Accused-movant Estrada was arrested and detained based on the filing of the plunder case against him. Such arrest and detention place him under the custody of the law, on the basis of which his liberties are, and should be curtailed,” the government argued. “To deny the motion of accused Estrada will effectively give meaning to the precept that ours is a government of laws not of men.”
Last August 18, Estrada’s lead legal counsel Jose Flaminiano filed a motion before the anti-graft court to permit Estrada from performing his legislative duties as lawmaker and panel chairman aimed at expediting the lawmaking process.
“Senator Estrada has no intention of shirking from his duty as a senator and as chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development. Neither would he allow himself to be the cause of any delay in enacting the priority bills,” said Estrada’s camp in their seven-page motion.
Flaminiano argued that the legislator should be given the chance to conduct committee hearings being an elected senator.
The motion explained that at least 168 bills have been pending before Estrada’s committee where 12 of proposed laws have been considered priority measures that need immediate deliberations.
On Friday, the Fifth Division upheld the 90-day preventive suspension imposed against Estrada for his plunder case related to the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Estrada, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, is facing plunder and multiple graft cases for allegedly pocketing P183 million in commission and kickbacks after channeling his PDAF allotment to bogus non-government organization of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the “pork barrel” scam.