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Sandiganbayan directs Ombudsman to comment on Jinggoy’s move to dismiss plunder case

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The Office of the Ombudsman was given until July 15 to comment on the appeal of former senator Jinggoy Estrada to dismiss his plunder case concerning his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division gave the directive after it had to postpone the July 8 resumption of the plunder trial due to Estrada’s pending motion for reconsideration.

Estrada asked in his motion for reconsideration that the anti-graft court overturn its ruling which dismissed his demurrer to evidence.

A demurrer to evidence seeks the dismissal of a case due to the failure of the prosecution to prove guilt during the presentation of evidence in the trial.

“At no time did these witnesses claim that they were privy to or have personal knowledge about any participation, agreement or involvement which accused Estrada may have in any overt plan, plot or scheme purportedly formulated by Napoles or the other accused to carry out the alleged PDAF scam,” his motion for reconsideration read.

Estrada also argued his endorsement letters for the non-government organizations (NGO) of his co-accused, convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles, does not prove his guilt in the crime.

“Although the prosecution may have shown that several letters were issued to endorse NGOs, this sole act does not in itself constitute competent evidence of an overt act that may point to the existence of a glaring connection between Estrada and accused Napoles,” he stated.

Estrada filed the motion for reconsideration after the anti-graft court junked his demurrer to evidence.

“This court is convinced that the prosecution presented sufficient evidence, both testimonial and documentary, which established each element of the crime of plunder against the accused,” read the court’sresolution.

“This, if unrebutted by contrary evidence, is sufficient to support a conviction,” it added.

Under the case, Estrada is accused of having received from 2004 to 2012 kickbacks amounting to P183.793 million from Napoles by coursing his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) through her bogus non-government organizations.

Apart from plunder, Estrada is also facing 11 counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam.