Jinggoy Estrada posts bail for plunder case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada posted bail on Saturday for his plunder case after the Sandiganbayan granted his petition Friday.

Read: Sandiganbayan allows Jinggoy Estrada to post bail

The anti-graft court's Special Fifth Division set the bail at ₱1 million, saying in its resolution that it granted the petition because "the evidence has not strongly established accused Estrada as the main plunderer."

However, the decision does not rule on Estrada's guilt or innocence in the case.

In a Friday statement, Estrada said he was thankful for the Sandiganbayan's decision.

"Lubos ang pasasalamat ni Sen. Estrada sa Diyos, sa kanyang pamilya, mga kaibigan, mga taga suporta at sa lahat ng naniwala, nagtiwala at nagdasal para siya ay makalaya," the former senator's office said. "Higit sa kung ano pa man, ang desisyon ng Sandiganbayan ay matibay na patunay na mahina ang kaso laban sa kanya tulad ng sinabi nya noong una pa."

[Translation: Sen. Estrada is extremely thankful to the Lord, his family, his friends, his supporters and to those believed in and prayed for his freedom. Most of all, the Sandiganbayan's decision is clear proof that the case against him is weak, as he has been saying all along.]

Estrada, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, allegedly received ₱183 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as pork barrel or funds a lawmaker can spend for projects.

The Ombudsman filed plunder charges against Estrada in June 2014, with the Sandiganbayan ordering his arrest later that month.

Under the law, plunder is usually a non-bailable offense.

The anti-graft court denied Estrada's first petition to post bail in January 2016 after "finding that the prosecution has presented a strong evidence of guilt against him."

He filed his second bail petition in September 2016, following a remark by President Rodrigo Duterte that Estrada and former senator Bong Revilla should be granted bail.

The grant of Estrada's bail came after former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who has also been implicated in the so-called pork barrel scam and faces plunder charges, was allowed by the Supreme Court in August 2015 to post bail for "humanitarian reasons" in light of his age and poor health.

The lawmakers were named by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam that was unearthed by investigative media reports in July 2013.

An estimated ₱10 billion in government funds were allegedly lost from the scam, with money going into the pockets of Napoles and lawmakers.

This is a developing story. Please refresh the page for updates.