Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft and plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan (graft court) in connection with the scandalous pork barrel scam, and is presently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, does not seem to understand or, perhaps refuses to understand, where he is spending his time these days.
Together with his lawyers, Estrada has been maneuvering all sorts of ways to be free from the hole he is in, but the magistrates of the Fifth Division, exercising probity, have denied him every time he hatches a ploy, except perhaps, for medical and humanitarian reasons, giving exception to his position.
With Christmas and New Year holidays very much in the air, Estrada is again applying the same stratagem of asking the anti-graft court to grant him temporary liberty on December 25 and on December 31 to January 1 ‘to honor the birth of our Lord’ with his family, as Estrada explained it.
Well, there is nothing wrong with this request, especially for us Filipinos, and in convincing the court, Estrada even used embellished words describing the birth of Christ as ‘the most honored and respected tradition.’
But the court simply issued a forthright, if not realistic, rebuttal of Estrada’s motion granting him furlough with the following statement: “Allowing Estrada to be given furlough to be able to join his family ‘to honor the birth of our Lord’ would be a display of partiality in his favor. As a detention prisoner, accused should not be treated differently from all other prisoners who may want to visit their families during the holidays.”
The law if applied rightly does not really distinguish whether the person is an ordinary citizen or a public servant if accused and indicted of serious crimes.
Estrada as a law maker should be the first one to understand this and should stop from silently suggesting that he be given a preferential treatment.
It is about time it sinks in Estrada’s head where he is, what he has done, and who he is now before seeking another chance for freedom while his case is being heard and verdict decided.
Until then his ‘wings’ are clipped as the PNP Custodial Center continues to be his home.