MANILA - Sandiganbayan 5th Division Chairperson Efren Lagos scolded former Senator Jinggoy Estrada and warned him he might be cited in contempt after uttering the word “gago” in an apparent reference to Priority Development Assistance Scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Lagos heard Estrada say the word as Luy was undergoing cross-examination with defense lawyer Paulmar Arias on the alleged kickbacks Estrada received from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
"Mr. Estrada, don't make any side comment. I will cite you in contempt," Lagos said.
Luy was talking about the supposed government funds from the PDAF of Estrada, which were transferred to bogus non-government organizations based on the statements of Napoles.
The warning prompted Estrada to apologize to the court.
Lagos is the dissenting justice in the three-person court on the decision to allow Estrada to post bail last year.
In an interview with reporters after the hearing, Estrada said he was just expressing his disgust on the testimony of Luy.
"Talagang kaduda-duda. Yung court nga, they caught my attention kasi nakapag-comment ako ng... siguro that was comment in disgust dahil talagang halata naman na nagsisinungaling yung tao," he added.
(It's really suspicious. The court caught my attention because of my comment. That comment was in disgust because it was obvious that the person was lying.)
Estrada, who often attends his plunder trial, has just come back from vacation and a speaking engagement in the United States.
He was released on bail for plunder and graft charges, which stemmed from allegations he funneled parts of his discretionary funds or "pork barrel" to fake corporations ran by Napoles.