MANILA, Mar 9 (Mabuhay) – While Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is disappointed by the decision of the Sandiganbayan to allow the testimony of the Anti-Money Laundering Council in his bail hearing, he remains confident of his chances for temporary freedom.
“Athough we are saddened by the decision of the court, we have to abide by it. We are ready. I’m totally unfazed,” Estrada told reporters after his bail hearing Monday.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division denied with finality the motion of Senator Jinggoy Estrada to block the admission of the AMLC inquiry report on his bank accounts and other assets as the prosecution’s evidence against him for his plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In an 18-page resolution issued on Thursday, the anti-graft court junked Estrada’s motion for reconsideration for “lack of merit,” saying the senator failed to prove that he had the right to protected from the State’s power to inquire into bank accounts believed to be engaged in illegal activities.
Estrada said his lawyers would come up with an appropriate defense against the report, so long as the AMLC special investigator does not tell tall tales.
“Ayos lang, basta wag lang sila gumawa ng ibang kwento,” Estrada quipped.
In his motion for reconsideration filed last month, Estrada said the presentation of the AMLC report in open court will violate his right to privacy as provided in the Constitution and in Republic Act 1405 or the Bank Secrecy Act.
The Estrada camp also pointed out that no provision in the Constitution mandates the disclosure of the bank accounts of public officials.
The Fifth Division, however, dismissed Estrada’s arguments and maintained its original position that there are exceptions to the Bank Secrecy Act.
Estrada faces graft and plunder charges for allegedly conspiring with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to siphon off millions in public funds by diverting his discretionary pork barrel to Napoles-owned bogus NGO’s in exchange for commissions. Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center while the anti graft court hears his bail petition. (MNS)