Jinggoy Estrada to speak before US group for good governance
The Sandiganbayan has allowed a former senator who was detained on plunder charges in the early 2000s and again in June 2014 until September 2017 to travel abroad to speak before a group advocating good government.
The antigraft court’s Fifth Division has given former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada the green light to leave the country for the United States from April 30 to May 30.
Estrada has been indicted for plunder and graft for allegedly pocketing P183 million from his pork barrel funds when he was senator. He is out on bail.
More than a decade earlier, he was also charged with plunder when he was the San Juan City mayor for allegedly receiving “jueteng” payola from gambling lords and for receiving kickbacks from tobacco excise taxes.
Estrada said he would be the guest speaker of US Pinoys For Good Governance (USP4GG) on May 20 at its annual general membership meeting at Hibachi Buffet in the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan.
A travel motion he filed in the Sandiganbayan included a letter from USP4GG president William Dechavez, which stated that “our members would like to know the latest developments in the Philippines, particularly those pertaining to the issues over extrajudicial killings, Dengvaxia mess and federalism plan.”
The letter, dated Feb. 7, added: “We know that you are in the thick of all these developments, and we are certain you can discuss the said issues thoroughly and accurately.”
USP4GG is reportedly chaired by philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis, whom President Duterte and his allies have accused of funding “destabilization” plots and conspiring with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Lewis on March 23 dared Mr. Duterte to make good on his threat to release the transcript of a supposed wiretapped phone conversation that would prove her alleged involvement in the ICC case against the President.
Mr. Duterte is accused in the ICC of crimes against humanity in connection with extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs.
Besides his stint as a guest speaker, Estrada told the court that he would undergo medical consultation with orthopedic surgeon Christopher Mow at Stanford Hospital for his “recurring orthopedic shoulder problem.”
Moreover, he said he wanted to fulfill his “promise” of a family trip, “especially to [his son] Julian when he graduated on March 17, 2015, at OB Montessori Greenhills” in San Juan City.
On his trip, the former senator would be joined by Julian and his other children—Janella (San Juan vice mayor), Jolo and Jill—and his wife, Precy.
The court allowed Estrada to post bail in September 2017 after more than three years of detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City.
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