MANILA –The Sandiganbayan denied on Monday the motion for reconsideration filed by detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada regarding the attachment and freeze of his assets in connection with his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
In a five-page resolution, Sandiganbayan Fifth Division Chairman and Associate Justice Roland Jurado, denied Estrada’s motion, which asked the court to reverse its earlier ruling to temporarily freeze Php183.793 million worth of his assets pending the resolution of his plunder and graft cases.
“As movant has not filed a counter bond and as his arguments here on are unmeritorious, there is therefore no compelling reason to lift the attachment while the main case is still pending,” the resolution read.
Estrada’s main argument is that his plunder and graft cases have yet to be decided. However, the Sandiganbayan said in its decision that since a writ of attachment was an ex-parte motion, a case didn’t need to be resolved for the order to freeze an accused’s assets to be valid.
“With regards to motions in general, the Rules of Court requires only that motions be heard; it does not direct the court to order the filing of comments or oppositions to the motion before the motion is resolved,” the court decision further said.
The decision also was in reference to the Supreme Court, saying stopping the freeze order would be grossly unfair to the prosecution, which was well within its rights to ask for the freeze of Estrada’s assets.
“On the other hand, borrowing the words of the Supreme Court, ‘allowing the discharge of the attachment at this stage of the proceedings would put in jeopardy the right of the attaching party to realize upon the relief sought and expected to be granted in the main or principal action. It would have the effect of prejudging the main case,” the resolution said.
The Sandiganbayan ordered the freeze of Estrada’s assets last February.
The amount of assets ordered to be garnished was equivalent to the amount Estrada allegedly received as kickbacks for allowing the allocation of millions of pesos from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to fake foundations owned by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Among the properties ordered frozen by the anti-graft court were seven vehicles including a Jeep Wrangler, Range Rover, Chevrolet Suburban, Nissan Homy, Honda CRV, Foton Tornado 2T and a Ford Mark III van.
Also ordered frozen are six condominium units, four of which are located in San Juan City, one in Tagaytay City and another one at One Beverly Place in Quezon City.
Also ordered to be temporarily frozen were a townhouse, a house, four residential lots situated in exclusive subdivisions Loyola Grand Villas and Corinthian Hills both in Quezon City, and three pieces of agricultural lands all located in Lipa City, Batangas.
The freeze order also included the Php15 million worth of shares of stocks of Estrada, his wife Ma. Presentacion “Precy” and daughter Janella Marie in various companies.