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Estrada lawyers want whistleblowers on the stand ahead of other witnesses.

The lawyers of Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Ejercito Estrada want prosecutors to place on the witness dock whistleblowers ahead of other witnesses to expedite his petition for bail in the graft charge against him.

Atty. Alexis Abastilla-Suarez, one of Estrada's lawyers, said the defense would like to see on the stand "main (prosecution) witnesses like (the) whistleblowers who claimed Jinggoy really amassed ill-gotten wealth."

Since the bail hearing is summary in nature, Suarez told reporters this would expedite the proceedings.

During Estrada's bail hearing yesterday, Fifth Division Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo admitted the court cannot control how the prosecutors will present their evidence and witnesses.

Although yesterday was already the third scheduled hearing on Estrada's petition for bail, the prosecution's first witness, Atty. Vic Escalante, an investigator of the Office of the Ombudsman, had yet to provide pertinent testimonies.

"We have continuing objection as to the testimony of the witness because it is merely hearsay," Suarez told reporters after the hearing.

Suarez explained that Escalante merely only acquired documents from the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Budget and Management.

During the hearing, Escalante only identified the list of documents that he obtained during the investigation against Estrada but had to be cut short by the court when it adjourned by noon.

Instead, Fifth Division Chairman Roland Jurado directed both the prosecution and defense lawyers to again sit down to finalize the list of proposed stipulations that they were both willing to agree to so that the more important questions can finally be asked of Escalante.

"After siguro ma-finalize na yung stipulations, tuloy-tuloy na. Mapapabilis na rin, kasi hindi na kami magre-refer again to the exhibits previously marked (Once the stipulations have been finalized, hopefully it will already be smooth sailing. It will proceed quickly because we won't have to refer again to the exhibits previously marked)," Suarez said.



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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 22, 2014
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