(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Senator JV Ejercito on Friday urged the public “to respect the wisdom and fairness of our justice system” following the anti-graft court’s decision on a plunder case related to the pork barrel scam.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has acquitted his brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles of plunder, but it convicted the senator of one count of direct bribery and two counts of indirect bribery.
“The Sandiganbayan has handed down its verdict. I urge everyone to respect the wisdom and fairness of our justice system,” Ejercito said in a statement.
“Our justice system, despite its imperfection, is there to maintain law and order, protect our rights, and provide justice,” he added.
The court sentenced Estrada to a jail term of eight years to nine years and four months for direct bribery and two to three years for each count of indirect bribery. It also penalized the senator with a special temporary disqualification from holding public office and perpetual absolute disqualification from exercising the right to suffrage. It asked him to pay a P3 million fine.
But Estrada’s lawyer said the legislator will not go to jail because direct and indirect bribery offenses are bailable. Atty. Alexis Suarez likewise noted that the case is still appealable.
In an ambush interview after Friday’s case promulgation at the Sandiganbayan, Estrada vowed to exhaust all legal remedies to overturn his bribery conviction.
Suarez said they would first file a motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan, and if that fails, they would raise the case before the Supreme Court.
“I am sure that his legal team will exhaust all legal remedies on those cases he was convicted for,” Ejercito said.
“I wish him well and will continue to pray for Senator Jinggoy Estrada and his family,” he added.