By Gillian M. Cortez
The Supreme Court affirmed the Office of the Ombudsman’s findings of probable cause against former senator Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada over his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Supreme Court (SC) Spokesperson Theodore O. Te said in a media briefing on Tuesday, July 31, that the High Court “upheld the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause against petitioner Estrada.”
The High Court voted 6-4, with four taking no part in the voting.
The ruling, signed by Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, also junked the former senator’s plea to dismiss the plunder and graft charges in connection to the PDAF scam.
Mr. Estrada was charged with plunder and graft and will still face trial before the Sandiganbayan.
Last year, Ms. Estrada left detention after three years when he posted bail worth P1.33 million over his role in the pork barrel issue. The Sandiganbayan special fifth division was the one that granted the temporary liberty of Mr. Estrada.
He filed his plea to the SC earlier this year.
The former senator allegedly distributed his PDAF to fake organizations owned by pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. The former senator reportedly took P183.8 million in kickbacks.
Last week, Ms. Napoles was indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman for her role in the fertilizer fund scam, on top of her PDAF cases. She was also denied bail last week by the SC regarding the PDAF scam along with her co-accused, Former Senator Ramon B. Revilla Jr.
Juan Ponce Enrile, Sr. who was also charged with plunder and graft in relation to the PDAF scam, is free on bail.