Wife Precy: 'Tomorrow is the big day!'
MANILA (3RD UPDATE) - Former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is detained on plunder charges over alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso "pork barrel" scam, was allowed to post bail Friday, sources said.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division released a 15-page resolution granting Estrada's motion for bail.
The court set Estrada's bail at P1 million for plunder and P330,000 in total for 11 counts of graft, at P30,000 each.
The bail was similar to the amount posted by former senator Juan Ponce Enrile who was also granted liberty but by the Supreme Court.
Estrada's omnibus motion cited the case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the lack of a "main plunderer" in his case which also involves businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, Pauline Labayen and John Raymond De Asis.
The Sandiganbayan, however, denied Estrada's motion to dismiss.
"This ruling does not delve on the guilt or innocence of accused Estrada. It also (does) not preclude the prosecution from its right (to) present further evidence during the trial of the case, and the prosecution's opportunity to prove the guilt of the accused for the crime charged," the court said.
The court also noted that Estrada is not a flight risk.
"The fact that he surrendered himself voluntarily to the authorities and remained in detention for almost three years now also negate the intention or inclination to evade the legal processes," it said.
The special 5-member division had a vote of 3-2 in favor of Estrada.
The senator, son of former President Joseph Estrada, was accused of pocketing P183 million in kickbacks from fake projects, allegedly with help from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged scam mastermind.
The senator has been detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame since 2014.
On Friday, Estrada's wife Precy Ejercito and his children visited him in his detention cell.
"Noong una'y hindi kami makapaniwala, pero salamat sa Panginoon at dumating ang araw na ito. Siya lang ang kinapitan namin. Nagpapasalamat kami sa Sandiganbayan," said Ejercito.
"Tomorrow is the big day!," she said.
She said they would go to the Sandiganbayan at 9 a.m. on Saturday to post bail.
Offices at the Sandiganbayan normally have a skeletal workforce on Saturdays and is open starting 8 a.m.
Upon release, Estrada will first go to their Quezon City home, she said. The family then plans to go to his father Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada's house to have lunch.
They will then have a thanksgiving mass Saturday afternoon at the Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan, the family's bailiwick, she said.
Atty. Alexis Suarez, Estrada's counsel, said the Sandiganbayan's resolution to allow the former senator to post bail is proof that the charges filed against him have no grounds.
"Higit sa kung ano pa man, ang desisyon ng Sandiganbayan ay matibay na patunay na mahina ang kaso laban sa kanya tulad ng sinabi nya noong una pa," Suarez said in a statement.
Estrada is among three former senators tagged in the scam, along with Senators Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Enrile was released on bail in 2015, while Revilla remains detained while on trial.