The Sandiganbayan will begin next month a full trial against former Senator Jinggoy Estrada after it junked his bid for the outright dismissal of his plunder case in connection with the pork barrel fund scam.
The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division scheduled the continuation of Estrada’s trial on July 8 at 8:30 in the morning.
“This court is convinced that the prosecution presented sufficient evidence, both testimonial and documentary, which established each element of the crime of plunder against the accused,” the court said.
Estrada is facing charges at the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of the 183 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund.
The court earlier denied Estrada’s motion for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence; that if granted will result in his acquittal without him having to file counter-evidence to that filed by the Ombudsman in filing the case.
The Sandiganbayan has ruled that the Ombudsman’s evidence is strong enough to warrant the holding of the full trial of the case involving allegedly misuse of his PDAF funds.
In his motion, Estrada said the Ombudsman failed to prove that he allegedly misappropriated his P183-million Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, to the fake non-government organizations of pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
He said the prosecution had no evidence that he was the mastermind behind the scheme, nor was there proof he acted in conspiracy with Napoles and his former deputy chief of staff Pauline Labayen.
Ombudsman prosecutors, however, claimed that the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council alone showed Estrada’s receipt of P70.7 million worth of kickbacks. The prosecutors pointed out that the Sandiganbayan itself found Estrada received P55.8 million.