Palace welcomes arrest warrant vs Estrada

MANILA, June 23 (PNA) — Malacanang on Monday welcomed the arrest warrant issued by the anti-graft court against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and others involved in the plunder and graft case in connection with the controversial Php10-billion pork barrel scam.

“The issuance of this warrant is a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a press briefing.

Lacierda reiterated his call to the Filipinos to remain vigilant throughout the process as the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate.

“…Bearing in mind that the outcome should clearly reflect the profound reality –that just as every Filipino is accorded constitutional rights, these rights are to be protected in a manner that is just and in the service of the truth,” he said.

Sandiganbayan Fifth Division chairman Justice Roland Jurado, Justice Alexander Gesmundo and Justice Alex Quiroz signed a resolution finding probable cause to indict Estrada.

Earlier, warrant of arrests were also issued against Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and 31 others who were charged with one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft.

Also facing plunder charges over the pork barrel scam is Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

Further, Lacierda downplayed accusations that the government is focused on indictments and arrests of lawmakers who appeared to be in opposition against the administration.

“Just to remind everyone, we already filed a case against one of the allies of the President,” he said, referring to former Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon who resigned late last year after he was named respondent in a malversation complaint also in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“Shouldn’t that be as clear, as fundamental that we are color blind with respect to any investigation that involves anyone who are involved in the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam?,” he added. (PNA)