Former senator Jinggoy Estrada is on trial for plunder and graft before the Fifth Division in connection with his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam.
AP/Aaron Favila, File
Sandiganbayan urged: Punish Jinggoy Estrada
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman asked the Sandiganbayan to order former senator Jinggoy Estrada to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for allegedly making false claims just to secure the court’s permission to travel to the United States later this month. 

In a motion for reconsideration filed before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on April 13, the ombudsman’s prosecution panel asked the court to reconsider its earlier ruling allowing Estrada to stay in the US from April 30 to May 30.

The prosecution also asked the court to order Estrada to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for allegedly using a falsified invitation letter in support of his travel motion.

In a hearing yesterday morning, Fifth Division chairman Associate Justice Rafael Lagos directed Estrada’s legal team to submit its comment on the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration within three days.

In a phone interview with The STAR yesterday, Estrada maintained that the invitation letter he received from US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) Michigan chapter head William Dechavez was not forged.

The Fifth Division had earlier granted Estrada’s motion for a one-month stay in the US for a vacation with his family, a medical checkup in connection with his “recurring” shoulder pains and to attend the event of the USPGG, a Filipino-American group.

Estrada attached in his motion an invitation letter signed by Dechavez.

However, in a press statement posted on its website a day after Estrada’s travel request was granted by the court, USPGG chairperson Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis and USPGG president Rodel Rodis denied issuing any invitation to the former senator.

Estrada is on trial for plunder and graft before the Fifth Division in connection with his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam.

He was detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame from June 2014 to September 2017, when the Fifth Division allowed him to post bail, citing lack of evidence showing he is the “main plunderer” in the case.                  

JINGGOY ESTRADA TRAVEL AUTHORITY
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