SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada expressed belief that he would be acquitted of the plunder and graft charges against him in relation to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

"Bakit naman ako maghahanda para makulong gayun malinis ang konsensiya ko. I am very confident that this case filed against me will not prosper. And the truth shall set me free," the beleaguered senator said.

Estrada said he is not worried about the fact that the cases filed against him at the Sandiganbayan fifth division is being handled by Associate Justice Roland Jurado, an appointee of President Benigno Aquino III, leader of the ruling Liberal Party.

"I don't mind. I'm not worried at all. I am very sure that the Sandiganbayan will dispense fair justice. They (justices) should be fair and if they will exercise fairness, I will be acquitted of all the charges," said Estrada.

Estrada said he is confident that supporting evidence will favor him.

"I can only pray for them to afford us fair justice in the end. I do not know anyone in the Sandiganbayan except for one who was appointed by my father long time ago and who has already inhibited from the case," Estrada said.

Estrada was referring to Associate Justice Gregory Ong who heads the fourth division of the Sandiganbayan but who had earlier said that he will inhibit from the handling of the case.

The senator admitted heaving a sigh of relief upon learning that the charges against him and colleagues Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., were raffled off to the three divisions of the Sandigabayan, saying that he prefers such a setup.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier asked the Supreme Court to create two special divisions to try and decide on cases related to the PDAF scam.

Estrada said that he no longer has any trust in both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and will only rely on the Sandiganbayan and the Supreme Court insofar as his cases are concerned.

Meanwhile, the camp of Revilla expressed hope that justice will prevail and a fair trial will be accorded to them.

Revilla's camp said they are expecting the presiding justice of the first division, Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, that will handle Revilla's case to rise above partisan considerations.

"If we sense, in the course of the trial, that a judge or justice has become biased, we have other legal remedies available," Joel Bodegon, counsel of Revilla, said.

Bodegon said they respect the power of the President to appoint these people and believe that they were promoted to the post due to their qualifications and recommendations of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Both Estrada and Revilla said they have no plans of leaving the country anytime soon, while awaiting the possibility of the issuance of a warrant for their respective arrests.

"If they will issue now a warrant for my arrest, I will yield to them. If it will be after a week, I will wait. I’m not going anywhere," Estrada said.

Bodegon, for his part, said his client made a strong declaration that he would face everything no matter what. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)