Jinggoy vows to exhaust all legal options in bribery conviction

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Friday, January 19 vowed to exhaust all legal options available to him to after the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder but found him guilty of direct and indirect bribery in the so-called pork barrel fund scam. 

Estrada said he is surprised at the verdict because no charges of bribery or indirect bribery have been filed against him.

“We will file the necessary motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan. And yes, I will instruct all my lawyers, again, to exhaust all legal options, all legal remedies,” Estrada told reporters during an interview after the Sandiganbayan rendered the decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

In the 396-page decision promulgated by the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, Estrada was convicted of one count of bribery and two counts of indirect bribery.

For this two crimes, he was sentenced to a prison term ranging from eight to nine years for one count of bribery and two to three years for indirect bribery.

Nevertheless, the senator further said he still believes in the country’s justice system. 

“Nothing is final, ok? That is appealable,” he stressed. 

“This is a vindication of my name, and I am emerging victorious at this point. But to the conviction of direct and indirect bribery, I am not a lawyer, I have not read the decision but I am so surprised since based on the information sheet there was no direct or indirect bribery filed in the information sheet, it was only the case of plunder,” Estrada insisted.

“I’ve already been acquitted, exonerated of plunder. And I will ask my lawyers to exhaust all legal remedies, all legal options available for me. But still I believe in our justice system,” he said.

Estrada’s legal counsel Alexis Abastillas Suarez, also said they will further study the bribery cases against the senator as bribery is a crime charged under the Revised Penal Code. 

“Plunder is a crime charged under special laws. So titingnan naming, babasahin ang decision ng court and kung ano ang basis nila for the bribery (So we will check and read the decision of the court and find out what was their basis for the bribery charges),” Suarez said.

“But we take this as a very, very big victory for us because he was exonerated from the crime of plunder,” she said.