Jinggoy: Ombudsman's findings tainted

Posted at 04/08/14 12:48 PM

MANILA -- Senator Jinggoy Estrada said he was not given a “reasonable opportunity” to contest the basis of the Office of the Ombudsman’s findings against him, making the decision to file plunder and graft charges tainted.

In his motion for reconsideration, Estrada said: “We were not provided copies of the affidavits of the additional witnesses, thus, we were not properly apprised of the evidence offered against us, which were eventually made the bases of the finding of probable cause for indictment.”

Besides Estrada, the Ombudsman also found basis to file plunder and graft charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The Ombudsman used as basis the testimonies of several whistleblowers, including Benhur Luy, the former employee of businesswoman Janet Napoles.

But Estrada noted that Luy’s ledgers do not show that money was delivered to him. The ledgers don’t also support a supposed modus that 50% of the pork barrel goes to lawmakers’ pockets, he added.

“None of the witnesses ever claimed to be privy or have personal knowledge about any participation, agreement or involvement which I may have in the so-called PDAF scam,” he said.

Estrada further said the testimonies of Ruby Tuason and Dennis Cunanan are unsubstantiated and untrustworthy, as he alleged that their testimonies were made in consideration of a promise of immunity from prosecution.

Insofar as the endorsement of the nongovernment organizations where the pork barrel is to be directed, Estrada said the actual selections are done by implementing agencies.

"If at all, the act of endorsement by the legislator concerned is merely recommendatory, with the decision to award or not to the discretion of the implementing agency," he said, adding that he has no control over his pork barrel.

"The subject funds were, in fact and in law, released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) directly to the implementing agencies, and from the implementing agencies to the local government units or non-government organizations,” he said.