Jinggoy Estrada to remain senator until Sandigan ruling is final – Zubiri

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Jinggoy Estrada will remain a senator until the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division’s ruling on his case becomes final, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Friday.

The anti-graft court cleared Estrada of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam case but convicted him of one count of direct bribery and two counts of indirect bribery.

Estrada was sentenced to a jail term of eight to nine years for direct bribery and two to three years for each count of indirect bribery. The court also suspended him from holding public office, temporarily disqualified him from exercising the right to vote, and asked him to pay a P3 million fine.

“The Senate takes due notice and respects the Sandiganbayan decision on the cases filed against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, a sitting senator of the Philippines with a mandate emanating from over 15 million voters,” Zubiri said in a statement.

The Senate leader recognized, however, that remedies are still available for Estrada under existing laws.

“Until and unless the decision becomes final and executory, Sen. Jinggoy is duty-bound to continue performing his functions as Senator of the Republic,” Zubiri said.

In an ambush interview following the plunder case promulgation, Estrada vowed to use all legal solutions to overturn his bribery convictions.

“He has the right to exhaust all of these,” Zubiri added, noting that Estrada could still file a motion for reconsideration with the Sandiganbayan and an appeal by certiorari with the Supreme Court.