MANILA (UPDATED) - The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has issued a hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Jinggoy Estrada, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, and others involved in the alleged plunder of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations.
Included on the list are other co-accused in the case:
Pauline Therese Mary Labayen, Estrada’s deputy chief of staff; Undersecretary for Operations Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM);
Rosario Salamida Nuñez, Lalaine Narag Paule and Marilou Dialino Bare of DBM;
Allan Javellana, former National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) president;
Rhodora Mendoza, Nabcor director for financial management services and administration and finance vice president;
Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Nabcor chief accountant;
Victor Roman Cacala, Nabcor paralegal;
Maria Ninez Guañizo, Nabcor bookkeeper and accounting division officer in charge;
Romulo Relevo, Nabcor general services unit head; and,
John Raymund de Asis, an employee of Napoles.
Napoles is detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna for an illegal detention case filed by pork barrel scam whisteblower Benhur Luy.
The plunder charges were filed before the Sandiganbayan on June 6.
In a separate interview with radio dzMM, Estrada said the HDO is not a problem since he will not be leaving the country anyway.
“I will face the charges head on,” he said.
He reiterated he is ready to go to jail. “Do I have any choice?”
He said he has not seen the videos showing the detention cells being prepared by the police in case warrants of arrest are issued against him and his colleagues, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Estrada said the court, not the police, will decide where they will be detained. “If we will be detained in a regular jail, we will appeal.”
He said his lawyers will file a motion for bail. While plunder is a non-bailable offense, the court must first determine if the evidence against the respondent is strong or not.
“I was slapped a plunder case before, but I was allowed to post bail because the evidence was weak,” he said.
In a speech before the Senate adjourned last Wednesday, Estrada insisted he did not get a single centavo from public coffers.
He said he will prove his innocence once the cases move to the Sandiganbayan and to higher courts.
In front of family members and friends who were at the gallery, he said: “I am not afraid to go to jail. They don’t need to drag me to jail. I will voluntarily surrender once a warrant is issued.”
Estrada allegedly channeled his PDAF allocations to bogus non-government organizations of Napoles.
In the same radio DZMM interview, he said: “Who in his or her right mind would want to divert money to bogus NGOs?”
He said he did not know that the NGOs of Napoles were bogus.
He said it’s the responsibility of the implementing agencies to determine the legitimacy of an NGO.