MANILA (Mabuhay) – After combing through bank accounts owned by detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, the sheriff’s office of the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday revealed that so far it has only found a measly P70,504.10 in one of the senator’s accounts.
The Court Sheriff had better luck in freezing Estrada’s assets, after it managed to secure more than P14M in the senator’s real estate properties.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division earlier ordered some P183.7M in Estrada’s assets frozen. The amount corresponds to the alleged kickbacks the senator is said to have received from the multi-billion pork barrel fund scam.
The prosecution, in its petition, said the amount must be secured by the government to prevent the detained senator from using or hiding the same while the court is still trying his plunder case.
Under the order, Estrada, who faces plunder and graft charges before the anti-graft court, would not be allowed to make deposits, withdrawals and fund transfers to and from his bank accounts while his case is still being heard in court.
Notice of garnishment
In a report, Sandiganbayan Sheriff and Security Services Division acting chief Albert dela Cruz said a notice of garnishment has been served to major banks and financial institutions regarding the freeze of Estrada’s properties.
However, dela Cruz’s report said only one bank replied to the court’s notice of garnishment.
“Only Metrobank had so far replied thereto with garnished amount of P70,504.10 in the account of the accused,” the report said.
Other than the cash deposits, Estrada’s real estate properties in Quezon City, San Juan and Lipa City in Batangas were also frozen.
Included in the list of garnished properties are:
a Quezon City lot with a two-storey residence worth P678,590;
a three-storey residence estimated to be valued at P8.5 million; and
a piece of lot worth P927,000.
Meanwhile, two condominium units in San Juan valued at P552,960 and P903,210 were also garnished.
Estrada’s agricultural lands in Lipa with a market value of P297,506.08 and rice paddies worth P169,171 were also ordered frozen, dela Cruz said.
A writ of preliminary attachment and garnishment is an ex parte motion or a motion filed separate to court proceedings to freeze the bank accounts and properties of an accused, to ensure that the amount returns to the government if the accused is proven guilty.
Estrada faces graft and plunder cases for allegedly conspiring with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to divert millions in his discretionary pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Fund) to bogus NGOs in exchange for commissions. (MNS)