MANILA, Philippines – Detained former senator Jinggoy Estrada finally getting out of jail, albeit temporarily, could happen anytime soon after a Sandiganbayan special division of 5 justices is formed to decide on his bail petition.
A special division was reportedly created after the three justices of the 5th Division failed to agree unanimously on the decision on Estrada’s petition.
The revised internal rules of the Sandiganbayan requires a unanimous vote of 3 justices in a division for it to hand a judgment or final order.
A story on The Manila Times by Jomar Canlas, citing reliable court sources, said two 5th Division justices – Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Reynaldo Cruz – voted in favor of the petition; while its chairman, Justice Rafael Lagos, dissented.
As such has become the case, two more judges will join the panel, namely Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Lorifel Pahimna to resolve the issue.
Trespeses, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino, has allegedly sided with Lagos in voting against Estrada’s motion; making it a stalemate.
This would leave Estrada’s fate in the hands of Pahinma, an appointee of President Rodrigo Duterte, to break the dead lock. She is expected to cast her vote this week.
Early this month, Estrada said in an interview that he agreed with President Duterte’s scathing attack on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for supposedly implementing “selective justice”.
“The President knows what he is talking about dahil being a prosecutor before, alam niya siguro, nabasa niya ang aming kaso. Talagang wala naman talaga, pinili lang talaga kami kasi we were with the opposition in the last administration,” said the former San Juan City mayor and senator.
[The President knows what he is talking about, himself being a prosecutor before, maybe he knows, he read about our case. Because the truth is, there is really nothing against us, we were chosen because we were with the opposition in the last administration.]