THE Sandiganbayan remains convinced that former Senator Jinggoy Estrada is the main plunderer in his P183-million plunder case.
The Fifth Division issued a 12-page decision denying the appeal of Estrada to dismiss the case filed against him over the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund and his taking a commission from the projects funded by the PDAF.
Estrada had filed a motion for reconsideration of the anti-graft court’s denial of his demurrer to evidence.
The court emphasized that being a public officer then Estrada is the main plunderer and supposedly has discretion on who benefits from his PDAF allocation.
“It is clear that the main plunderer so to speak is no other than Estrada, having control over his PDAF and without his participation, the whole scheme would not have begun,” the anti-graft court said.
“Estrada’s act of repeatedly making and sending of endorsement letters to the implementing agencies designating the bogus nongovernment organizations as his partner-implementers in relation to his PDAF-funded projects, started the whole PDAF scheme,” it added.
Estrada is enjoying temporary liberty as he was allowed to post bail. The ex-senator ran for another term in the Senate under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) team but lost.
The Sandiganbayan pointed out that of all the accused in this case, the participation of Estrada is the most vital, as he served as the “spark plug” which ignited the complex PDAF scheme.
“His role is constant and nobody else can play it for him being the custodian of his PDAF, which does not apply to all other accused,” Sandiganbayan added.
Further, the anti-graft court stressed that the lack of direct evidence of receipt of Estrada of the commissions and kickbacks is immaterial since plunder is about amassing ill-gotten wealth.