The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the latest bid of detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada to stop his plunder case before the Sandiganbayan in connection with his alleged involvement in the multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund scam even as government prosecutors rejected Ramon “Bong” Revilla’s motion to unfreeze his frozen assets, also in connection with the same case.
Estrada and Revilla, along with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile are currently detained for plunder charges in connection with the PDAF scam.
During its en banc session, the SC turned down Estrada’s plea for the issuance of temporary restraining order enjoining the anti-graft court from admitting as evidence the disbursement report of JLN Corporation owned by alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim Napoles and the corresponding testimony of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
The tribunal did not find it necessary to issue a TRO while pending resolution of Estrada’s petition based on merits.
However, the SC directed the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to answer the allegations in the petition by filing a comment within 10 days from notice.
In his latest petition, Estrada questioned the resolutions of the anti-graft court in October and December last year denying his request to exclude the purported Daily JLN Corporation Cash/Check Disbursement Reports prepared by Luy.
Estrada accused the anti-graft court of committing grave abuse of discretion and violating his constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizure in denying his plea.
The opposition senator also argued that the questioned disbursement reports are not the property of Luy and therefore should not be accepted as evidence.
He also alleged that the “unauthorized access, collection and disclosure of the electronic files constituting the disbursement reports constitute a violation of Republic Act No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 20120.”
Estrada cited Section 12 of RA 10175, which provides that “data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.”