MANILA, Dec 17 (Mabuhay) — The Sandiganbayan has unanimously refused the request for recusal of the three justices handling the graft and plunder cases of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said Wednesday.
Tang said the anti-graft court, in a special en banc session, did not find the “personal reasons” of the justices compelling enough to grant their request.
While Tang refused to say what the reasons were, she did consent to say that it was not due to pressure of any kind related to their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), or to threats to the lives of the justices.
“Let me set the record straight. It has nothing to do with release of our SALN to the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), or any alleged bank account investigation of the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council). There has never been any pressure from Malacañang either,” Tang told reporters.
“I hope you will respect them, they wished for this to be confidential,” she added.
In a one-page document submitted Monday to Tang, Justices Roland Jurado, Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Theresa Dolores Estoesta requested to be relieved of handling Estrada’s case.
Estrada, son of former President and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, is accused of diverting millions of pesos in his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel to bogus non-government organizations for kickbacks. He has denied the charges.(MNS)