Jinggoy, Bong worried over arrest
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. expressed concern yesterday over reports that the ombudsman is under pressure to elevate the plunder complaint against them before the Sandiganbayan before yearend.

“This confirms all along our suspicion that the filing of charges was political in nature,” Estrada said, worried about the possible issuance of warrants of arrest before Christmas Day.

Estrada said he has directed his lawyers to conduct the necessary legal strategy to present his defense.  

Estrada tapped the services of veteran lawyer Jose Flaminiano to defend him in the plunder case while lawyer Estelito Mendoza is representing him before the Department of Foreign Affairs over the justice department’s recommendation to cancel his passport.

Estrada pointed out the special attention given by the Office of Ombudsman on the case.

He noted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales conducted about two months ago a press briefing about the Commission on Audit (COA) findings on the pork barrel, then made public the filing of the plunder complaint before starting preliminary investigation on the case.

“Why such haste?” Estrada asked.

Estrada, Revilla and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, along with 35 others, are facing plunder complaints before the Ombudsman. Alleged pork barrel operator Janet Lim-Napoles is included in the case.

Although the respondents would be given ample time to present their counter-affidavits before the Ombudsman, a lawyer said the legal process includes the possibility that the warrants of arrest might be issued once the Ombudsman finds probable cause for plunder and formally elevates the case to the Sandiganbayan.

Since plunder is a non-bailable offense, the respondents would be detained during the trial.

Another option is that the Ombudsman may dismiss the complaint altogether or downgrade the charges depending on evidence, lawyers said.

Revilla, for his part, has not been speaking publicly on the issue but has not concealed his worry from close members of his staff about the possibility of arrest. 

Revilla has denied any wrongdoing in the use of his pork barrel from 2007 to 2009, which was the subject of the Ombudsman probe.

Revilla, who has reiterated that his conscience is clear, had reportedly expressed concern not so much on the effect of the charges on his political career but on the impact of the case on his family.

 

CHRISTMAS DAY DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ESTELITO MENDOZA ESTRADA JANET LIM-NAPOLES JOSE FLAMINIANO OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN OMBUDSMAN OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES REVILLA REVILLA AND SENATE MINORITY LEADER JUAN PONCE ENRILE
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