THE Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division on Monday stood firm on its decision to freeze the assets of Senator Jinggoy Estrada worth at least P183 million.
Associate Justices Roland Jurado, Alexander Gesmundo and Maria Theresa Dolores Estoesta rejected Estrada’s plea to stop the garnishment of a Wrangler jeep, a Range Rover, a Chevrolet Suburban, a Nissan Homy, a Honda CRV, a Foton Tornado 2T, a Ford Mark III van, four condominium units in San Juan City, one unit in Tagaytay City, and another unit in Quezon City’s One Beverly Place.
Also included in the writ of garnishment were a townhouse, a house, four residential lots in Quezon City’s Loyola Grand Villas and Corinthian Hills, three parcels of agricultural land in Lipa City, and over P15 million worth of shares of stock in Estrada’s name and in the name of his wife Presentacion and daughter Janella Marie.
The total amount of Estrada’s assets covered by the attachment was equivalent to the P183-million kickback that he allegedly received from his pork barrel fund funneled to the ghost projects of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
“As movant has not filed a counter bond and as his arguments hereon are unmeritorious, there is therefore no compelling reason to lift the attachment while the main case is still pending,” the Sandiganbayan’s order read.
“With regards to motions in general, the Rules of Court require 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.”
To reverse its February writ of attachment or garnishment would be grossly unfair to the prosecution, the court said.
“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 court said.
Estrada filed the motion in a bid to stop the confiscation of his properties, saying the charges of plunder and 11 counts of graft had yet to be resolved.