MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 5th Division gave the prosecution 10 days to comment on the request of former senator Jinggoy Estrada for a speedy plunder trial, as required by the Supreme Court in its new guidelines.
In a hearing presided by the 5th Division Clerk of Court Atty. Liezel De Leon, the prosecution was directed to submit a written comment within 10 days.
Estrada invoked the recent Supreme Court resolution approving the Revised Guidelines for Continuous Trial of Criminal Cases, which takes effect on September 1, 2017.
The lawyers of Estrada gave emphasis on written statements, affidavits, judicial affidavits which can serve as the direct testimonies of witnesses whose demeanor is not essential in determining their credibility, such as forensic chemists, medico-legal officers, investigators, auditors, accountants, engineers, custodians, expert witnesses.
Estrada likewise asked that the prosecution furnish the defense the written statements, affidavits, judicial affidavits of prosecution witnesses no later than 5 days before the scheduled hearing.
Estrada has been detained since 2014 for plunder over his alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
He is accused of pocketing P183.793 million in public funds after diverting his PDAF to "non-existent" and "unaccredited" non-government organization which failed to deliver the assistance to beneficiaries from 2004 to 2012.
Three years after the plunder case against Estrada was filed in 2014, the trial is set to start after the court terminated the pre-trial proceedings.