THE Supreme Court denied the appeal of former senator Jinggoy Estrada to dismiss the graft charges against him in connection with his alleged involvement in the pork-barrel scam.
”The Court denied with finality petitioner Estrada’s motion for reconsideration of its January 24, 2017 Resolution for not having raised any new and substantive arguments to merit a reconsideration,” said high court spokesman Theodore Te.
In its Jan. 24 resolution, the high court denied Estrada’s petition, ruling the Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion in not suppressing the questioned disbursement reports and the testimony of principal witness Benhur Luy.
Estrada had asked the high court to order the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to dismiss the charges against him for lack of merit. He said the anti-graft court must dump the graft charges against him in view of his indictment for plunder that is anchored on the same allegations.
He claimed that the Sandiganbayan had committed grave abuse of discretion in denying his plea to dismiss those charges after the anti-graft court issued a resolution dated July 14, 2016 and Oct. 4, 2016.
Recently, the high court dumped Estrada’s appeal after he questioned the preliminary investigation conducted by the Ombudsman that eventually indicted him before the Sandiganbayan.
The high court has also dumped Estrada’s petition questioning the arrest warrant earlier issued against him.
Estrada argued that there was no proof that he received and amassed even a single centavo out of his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocation. He maintained that the evidence on record failed to establish probable cause to indict him for plunder and for violation of the Anti-Graft Law.
“Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation, on bare and unsubstantiated allegations and on hearsay evidence cannot become basis of probable cause,” Estrada said.
“None of the witnesses ever claimed to be privy or have personal knowledge about any participation, agreement or involvement which I may have in the so-called PDAF scam.”
Estrada said the testimonies of Benhur Luy, Gertrudes Luy, Marina Sula and Merlina Sunas were not based on personal knowledge.
He said their statements were based merely on what they heard from Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork-barrel scam.
Aside from Estrada, another former senator, Ramon Revilla Jr., is also detained at the Philippine National Police-Custodial Center in Camp Crame over the pork barrel scam.