MANILA – Detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on Friday has asked the Sandiganbayan to give him the amount that he needs to pay for bail following the prosecution’s failure to provide strong evidence that will warrant his continued detention.
Estrada pointed out to the Ombudsman prosecutors that he is still innocent since the plunder and graft charges against him “should not be equated to conviction.”
After five months of hearing, he said the prosecution still has no strong evidence to prove the allegations against him.
He added that the prosecutor presented “thoughtless and rash conclusions” in rejecting his request for the court to give the amount of his bail.
“Contrary to the prosecution’s assertion, what triggered the filing of the motion is the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence, hence the continuous deprivation of [my] constitutional rights,” said Estrada in his motion dated Jan. 5
He added that even Benhuy Luy, primary whistle-blower, cannot prove that he benefited from the alleged misuse of his P278 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations from 2004 until 2010. Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. are also detained because of the same plunder charges.
“The prosecution must be mindful that unless and until Senator Estrada, or any accused for that matter, is proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence remains,” read a portion of his motion.
It added, “To support the prosecution’s contention, the proof against him must survive the test of reason. [T]he strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment.”
He also said that contrary to what the public thinks, Estrada does not have any plans of leaving the country in order to avoid his trial, saying his “official and social standing and other personal circumstances eliminate the risk of flight.”