MANILA — The anti-graft court on Monday denied the birthday furlough being asked by detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada, saying that “confinement restrains the power of locomotion or actual physical movement.”
Estrada asked Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, chaired by Associate Justice Roland Jurado, to grant him birthday furlough dated Feb. 12, 2015 so as to allow him attend a three hour natal mass on Feb.
“Wherefore, the Motion to be Allowed to attend Natal Mass on February 17, 2015 filed by accused Senator Estrada is denied,” the resolution signed by Jurado and his two Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Teresa Dolores Estoesta read.
In his request, Estrada wanted to attend mass with his family on his natal day at Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan City.
“This met the opposition of the prosecution which, while commiserating with the desire of the accused to attend a natal mass with his family, is constrained as such because of his detention. The prosecution cited the previous rulings in this court in accused’s Motion to be Allowed a Pass for five (5) hours on November 1, 2014 and Motion to be Allowed a Furlough on December 25, 2014 and December 31, 2014 to January 1, 2015,” the court argued in the resolution.
The court explained in its resolution, that what the accused sought was not of an emergency in nature.
“Allowing the accused to hear mass outside the confines of his prison would accord him the liberties of a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of purposes of the correction system,” the court explained on their decision.
With that, the Fifth Division of Sandiganbayan said that “at the risk of bad precedent, therefore, accused’s reprieve from jail for his natal day cannot be accommodated.”