The Sandiganbayan has frozen Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s assets worth nearly P183 million pending the resolution of the plunder case filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In a five-page ruling on Monday, the Sandiganbayan granted the petition filed by state prosecutors for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment or garnishment to “preserve and prevent any dissipation of prima facie ill-gotten wealth” purportedly acquired by Estrada.
The writ of attachment issued by the anti-graft court means properties registered under Estrada’s name or that of his family members cannot be sold.
Among the properties ordered frozen by the court were Estrada’s P30-million house in the posh Corinthian Hills subdivision in Quezon City, six condominium units, seven residential and agricultural lots, a townhouse and seven vehicles.
Also covered by the writ were shares of stock in 10 companies worth around P16 million and registered in the name of Estrada, his wife Ma. Presentacion and their daughter Janella Marie.
In response, Estrada’s camp said the prosecution’s motion for freezing his assets “has no legal leg to stand on,” as the reasons stated under the Rules of Court for granting such a legal remedy were “not present in this case.”
The senator, who’s currently detained in connection with his plunder case, maintained he did not benefit from the pork barrel scam.
“It is undisputed that the funds in question were never placed in [my[ possession or custody. Under the circumstances, [I] cannot be deemed an ‘accountable officer’ of the subject funds,” Estrada said, referring to his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation.
“Hence, [I] cannot be held liable for embezzlement or misappropriation of funds, which [I] was never in custody or possession of, and for which, [I am] not considered accountable by law,” he said.