Estrada: 'I am a free man'
MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada was released on a P1.33-million bail Saturday after being detained for more than three years on graft and plunder charges for his alleged role in the multibillion-peso "pork barrel" scam.
Estrada was officially released past 1 p.m. after undergoing processing at the Sandiganbayan. He had left the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at 12:28 p.m., some three hours since his legal team posted bail.
He was reunited with wife Precy and his children.
Speaking to reporters after his release, Estrada said he is now a "free man," but assured that he would continue to attend hearings of his cases at the anti-graft court.
"'Pag punta ko dito (Sandiganbayan), wala nang guwardiya sa likod ko, sa harap ko, sa tagiliran ko. I'm a free man already but I will religiously attend the hearings of my plunder case," he said.
"I would like to thank our Lord God for giving me this opportunity. I would like to thank the magistrates of the Sandiganbayan for approving my petition for bail, and I would like to thank my family and supporters for their non-ending prayers for me," he added.
Asked who he will miss the most at his detention cell, Estrada responded: "Si Bong Revilla. Sino pa ba?"
Estrada said he is hopeful that Revilla, who is also on trial for his alleged role in the scam, would soon be released.
"Palakasin niya loob niya. Balang araw ay makakamit din niya ang kaniyang kalayaan," he said.
After his release, Estrada is expected to go home with his family in Quezon City.
A thanksgiving mass is also scheduled Saturday afternoon at the Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan, the family's bailiwick.
Earlier, Estrada's lawyer Alexis Suarez posted bail on his behalf at the Sandiganbayan past 9 a.m.
The anti-graft court had on Friday granted Estrada's motion for bail, set at P1 million for plunder and P330,000 for 11 counts of graft, at P30,000 each.
He had been detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame since 2014 on allegations that he pocketed P183 million in kickbacks from fake projects, purportedly with help from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged scam mastermind.
Estrada is among three former senators tagged in the scam, along with Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, who was released on bail in 2015.