Why US expert says bail for Estrada, Revilla doubtful

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 24, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla have been arrested in the pork barrel scam and are already seeking bail.

In the Philippines, plunder is a non-bailable offense if strong evidence of guilt exists.

However lawyers of these senators charged in connection to the pork barrel scandal argue that their clients should be granted bail because they say there is no substantial evidence against them.

Legal Counsel for the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance Attorney Ted Laguatan says that it is now up to the Sandiganbayan, the Philippines’ version of the Court of Appeal, to decide whether or not they can receive bail.

“The justices have a lot of discretion within the guidelines of the law,” said Laguatan. “They could, if they wish to, grant bail despite the fact that the accused are being charged with plunder. They may give certain reasons why bail is appropriate, such as, for instance, if they thought there was not enough evidence to convict them they could, on their discretion, do that.”

Laguatan believes they will not be granted bail for different reasons.

“It’s hard to say but based on the evidence and based on the mood of the people at the moment, which is also a factor, it’s unlikely they will grant bail because you will have a lot of reaction from the people,” said Laguatan.

Laguatan also says kababayans are closely monitoring the pork barrel case and whatever developments in the investigation are being scrutinized.

“Many Filipinos were so frustrated and disappointed by the fact that none of the Marcoses or the Marcos cronies were convicted or prosecuted,” said Laguatan. “So they got away with billions of the people’s money. Now with this development they are filled with new hope that hopefully there is a future for the Philippines for a better government and true justice for the Filipino people.”

Meantime some Filipinos here in the Bay Area have their own opinions on whether or not the most high-profile senators charged in the scam should receive bail.

“Everybody should follow the law,” said Cecilio Profeta of Anahiem, Calif. “Nobody should be above the law. If the law said plunder has no bail then there should be no bail.”

“If they are given bail then they should get bail,” said Daly City resident Vicente Correa. “If they are not guilty then they should be acquitted.”

“No bail,” said Vangie K. of South San Francisco. “You know why? They took a lot of money from the people. Did they give bail to the other people in the prison?”

“No bail,” exclaimed Maria B. also of South San Francisco. “No bail at all. They deserve to be in the detention cell.”

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • JRB
    24 June 2014 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Now is the time the future for the Philippines for a better government and true justice for the the Filipino people. The three high profile senators is the start to a future for Philippines? They should be treated like any other Filipino that steal from the poor Filipinos, lock them up with all the rest of prisoners that steal on the streets of Philippines. They should be shame of the wrong thing they did to the poor Filipinos in the Philippines. The hard working Filipinos in America sending they hard work money back to the Philippines to be taking by the three high profile Senators is shame.

  • kuya
    28 June 2014 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    The problem, Philippine Justice is double standard. If you are rich and famous, you get the most expensive lawyer that has connection in the Supreme Court and special treatment and special Jail. For the poor and homeless. You get full punishment and complete planted evidence from the enforcer and government lawyer is not available.