No TRO on Jinggoy's indictment for plunder

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2014 02:52 PM | Updated as of May 21 2014 10:52 PM

MANILA - Senator Jinggoy Estrada failed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC), for now, in his bid to stop his indictment for plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The high court, instead, directed the Office of the Ombudsman, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Atty. Levito Baligod to answer Estrada's petition.

The respondents were given a non-extendible period of 10 days to file their comment on Estrada's main petition, as well as his plea for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order.

Estrada urged the high court to order a halt to the Ombudsman's proceedings against him.

The anti-graft office has found probable cause to indict Estrada for plunder, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla, and several others.

Estrada filed a motion for reconsideration with the anti-graft office.

Estrada asked the high court to issue a TRO ex-parte or without even first hearing the side of respondents.

In his petition before the high court, Estrada said he was deprived of due process during the preliminary investigation of the case because he was not furnished several affidavits and other vital evidence submitted by the camp of the complainants.

Estrada maintained that his right to be properly apprised of the charges against him was violated.

"The Office of the Ombudsman is patently wrong in insisting that simply because a preliminary investigation is a mere statutory right, the constitutional guarantee of due process of law is not applicable to such proceedings.

"A person undergoing a preliminary investigation musty be apprised of all the acts upon which and any criminal charges is to be based," Estrada's petition read.

The NBI and Baligod, the private complainant in the plunder case, alleged that Estrada pocketed P183.79 million in kickbacks from alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim Napoles for funneling portions of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus Napoles NGOs and ghost projects.