MANILA – For lack of merit, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has denied on Thursday the five-hour pass request of detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada for him to visit his departed love ones this coming All-Saints Day.
In the resolution signed by Division Chairperson Associate Justice Rolando Jurado and Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Maria Theresa Gomez-Estoesta, the court junked the furlough request of Estrada due to “lack of merit.”
“Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing, the accused-movant’s motion to be allowed a pass of five hours on November 1, 2014 is denied for lack of merit,” the resolution read.
The court stated that “just like all other detention prisoners, accused-movant (Estrada) cannot be allowed the full enjoyment of his rights, be it civil or political.”
“We rule that to allow the accused-movant to leave his detention cell will not only set a bad precedent, but will likewise be regarded as a mockery of the administration of justice. Moreover, allowing the accused to leave his detention cell on the requested period will entail additional and considerable government expenses to safeguard his security and safety,” said the order.
“The inherent consequent restraint in some of his rights does not run counter to the constitutional presumption of his innocence, for the rule stands that until promulgation of final conviction is made, the constitutional mandate of presumption of innocence prevails (Trillanes IV vs. Pimentel, 556 SCRA 471),” the resolution added.
Earlier, state prosecutors filed a motion to block the furlough request of the Senator.
“The motion of Estrada is bereft of merit. Being a detention prisoner, he cannot be allowed full enjoyment thereof. The same should be tampered and subject to restraint. This is the essence of detention, the removal of individual’s freedom of movement and liberty,” the motion said.
Estrada said that he wants to visit to his departed love ones at the San Juan Cemetery and his best friend, the late actor Rudy Fernandez at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
Last October 14, Estrada filed a furlough request to visit the graves of Fernandez, as well as his grandparents, the late Don Emilio Ejercito and Dona Mary Ejercito, father-in-law Reynaldo Vitug, uncles George (the late actor George Estregan) and Paulino, and sister Jessica.