MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday said the Senate will fully implement the Sandiganbayan's decision to preventively suspend Senator Jinggoy Estrada for 90 days.
"The Senate will abide by the process in accordance with the Constitution and the laws. The Senate will respect every step in the investigation of this case. We will fully abide by the preventive suspension order issued by the Sandiganbayan and we will implement the order,” Drilon said in a statement.
The Senate President explained a senator who is preventively suspended cannot in any manner perform the function of his office within the duration of preventive suspension.
This means he is barred from attending sessions, filing bills, holding committee hearings and signing committee reports.
Drilon said the suspension will not affect the functions of the Committee on Labor, which Estrada chairs, because it shall be taken over by the vice chairman, Sen. Sonny Angara.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, chaired by Associate Justice Roland Jurado, earlier granted the prosecution panel's motion to have Estrada suspended from the Senate for 90 days.
Estrada faces one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly receiving P183 million in pork barrel kickbacks from 2004 to 2012. He is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Estrada's lawyer, Alexis Abastillas, told ANC in an interview that the senator's camp will appeal the suspension. She said based on the order of the court, the suspension would not take effect yet.
"We just received the order and it says that it is granting the motion for suspension of Senator Jinggoy, but it says there it is not immediately effective because they are saying 'unless a motion for reconsideration is filed by the accused,''' Abastillas said.
Estrada must not be suspended from office because the senator is still questioning the validity of the information filed against him, the lawyer said.
Abastillas noted that Estrada still has two pending petitions for certiorari with the Supreme Court.
She said in the interview that she has not yet told Estrada about the suspension.