MANILA - Government prosecutors on Monday started presenting witnesses on the graft cases of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, with witness testifying on documents related to his Priority Development Assistance Fund.
The prosecution presented Atty. Ma. Lourdes Arbas of the Office of the Senate Secretary, and Marissa Santos who works as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Budget and Management.
The prosecution and defense stipulated on the testimony of the two witnesses on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of Estrada as well as the Special Allotment Release Orders on Estrada’s PDAF, respectively.
The defense, however, manifested that their testimonies are irrelevant and immaterial.
The testimony of the third witness, Lolita Soriano, of the Commission on Audit, was cut short after the defense noted that her affidavit was incomplete.
“I’m happy at umuusad ang trial kahit paano after 3 long years and I hope that ma-fast-track na itong aming kaso dahil medyo matagal na eh. I’m hoping na ma-expedite na yung kaso,” Estrada told reporters after the hearing.
(I'm happy that the trial has move forward after 3 long years and I hope the case will be fast-tracked because it has been too long. I hope the case will be expedited.)
During the hearing, Estrada’s lawyer Atty. Noel Malaya also manifested that they will be submitting a waiver of appearance for Estrada.
Estrada said he has no plans for 2019 as he is currently making up for lost time with his family.
“Naghahatid-sundo ako ng anak ko. Minsan pinapasyal ko, that’s it,” Estrada said.
(I bring my kids to and from their destinations. We sometimes stroll around, that's it.)
He also said he plans on embarking in a “Thank you” tour and will be starting with the Visayas region.
“Meron akong personal reason for it,” Estrada.
(I have a personal reason for it.)
Meanwhile, the former lawmaker wishes that Sen. Bong Revilla will also walk free from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center as he celebrates his birthday.
“Happy birthday sa aking kumpare at matalik na kaibigan at dating ka-kosa. Sana matugunan ng ating Panginoon ang kanyang dalangin na makalaya na rin siya," he said of his former fellow detainee for plunder.
(Happy birthday to my best friend and former fellow detainee. I hope God will hear his prayer and he will go free.)
Revilla turned 50 on Monday.
The two former senators started out as movie actors before they followed in their actor fathers' footsteps and joined politics.
They had been detained at police general headquarters since 2014 on allegations they received kickbacks from the misuse of "pork barrel" or congressional funds.