Estrada maintains innocence in ‘pork’ scam

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday delivered a privilege speech, which focused on how the present administration railroaded the filing of the plunder charges against him and two opposition senators.

"Hindi po ako magnanakaw. Alam ko kung ano ang nararapat para sa akin at kung ano ang dapat pakinabangan ng taong bayan. I am well prepared. Lalaban ako," Estrada said.

Estrada along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla are facing plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in relation to the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allegedly engineered by businesswoman Janet Napoles.

He said the unfair treatment from the media and the present administration is hurting his family, specifically his children and wife, Precy.

"Sa aking nag iisang maybahay--si Precy--patawad sa mga pasakit na iyong dinaranas dahil sa mga pagsubok na ating patuloy na kinakaharap. Naway manatili kang matatag lalong lalo na pra sa ating mga anak. At sa nalalapit nating paggunita ng ating ika-25 taon ng ating pag iisang dibdib,nais ko sana iharap kang muli sa dambana. Ngunit dahil hindi umaayon ang pagkakataon, gagawin ko pa din na ikaw ay pakasalan kahit ako ay nasa piitan," Estrada said in his speech delivered in the last session day before Congress goes on a break.

Earlier, Estrada said the filing of the plunder charges against him and his two colleagues is being rushed, including their arrest, in preparation for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III before the joint session of Congress in July.

Estrada said that as early as last month when Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was still in New York for a study tour, she had announced that there was enough evidence in her possession.

"Morales had said that she still needed time to study the motion for reconsideration. How then can she immediately file the case with the Sandiganbayan the moment she returned to the country. It is obvious that the target is for the three of us to be detained before the Sona of President Aquino... to provide a showcase for his anti-corruption drive," Estrada said.

Estrada already delivered two privilege speeches last September 2013 and the second privilege speech was delivered last March 2014.

Estrada said he will voluntarily surrender himself to authorities if the court issues a warrant of arrest.

"Hindi po ako natatakot makulong. Hindi na nila ako kailangan hanapin at kaladkarin kung sakaling kami ay dapat ng arestuhin dahil ako na mismo ang kusang susuko sa kinauukulan sa sandaling maglabas ng utos ang korte na ako ay dakpin," Estrada said.

Recently, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three separate plunder raps against Napoles, Enrile, Revilla and Estrada and their respective co-accused for allegedly channeling hundreds of millions of pesos of their PDAF allocations to fake non-government organizations created and controlled by Napoles for the implementation of alleged ghost projects.

On Wednesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed the filing of the third batch of PDAF cases on Friday or early next week.

Estrada said he is confident that the Supreme Court will handle the matter based on evidence and not on political colors.

Senator Revilla, who earlier delivered a privilege speech, said it is time that President Aquino and his allies focus on the pressing problems of the government.

"Lead this country not with hatred but with love. Lead the country toward unity and not partisanship. Push our nation's interest and not political agenda. It is a rare privilege to be elected as President and you are among the lucky ones President Aquino," said Revilla.

Revilla also exhorted President Aquino to lead the country toward development and progress and not put to waste the six-year mandate bestowed on him by Filipinos.

Revilla also expressed his readiness to face his impending arrest, saying he has already lifted everything up to God, adding that everything will have closure at the right time.

Both Revilla and Estrada appeal to the public not to prejudge them based on press release and biased news reports.

Senator Enrile, on the other hand, said he is prepared and ready to face his destiny.

"Even if I die in my detention cell, it's okay. At my age, I got through life already," he said.

Enrile said he is already anticipating the scenario of being placed under arrest by authorities.

"I have been prepared since several days ago. I've already packed up my things to bring it to Camp Crame if that is where we are going to be confined," the Senate Minority Leader said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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