Erap stays mum on pork barrel scam

Bea Cupin
'I have enough problems here in Manila,' says the former president

MANILA FIRST. Mayor Erap Estrada says he'd rather not comment on the pork barrel scam because he's got enough on his hands. Photo by EPA/Francis R. Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – He’s been in government for most of his life but when asked about the pork barrel scam, Manila Mayor Erap Estrada would rather keep his mouth shut.

“In as much as I’ve been in national government… I’ve been there, now I’m in local government. I’d rather not comment on the problems of national government,” he told Rappler.

“I have enough problems here in Manila,” he added.

Estrada’s son, Sen Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, has been linked to a multi-million scam involving the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF). According to a Commission on Audit (COA) report, Sen Estrada released P396.25 million to 3 dubious non-government organizations controlled by “pork barrel queen” Janet Napoles, who is on the run from authorities. 

Sen Estrada earlier said he knows Napoles “through a friend.”

The elder Estrada told Rappler he doesn’t meddle with his sons’ lives in the Senate. “When I was a senator…my father was still alive then. My parents never intervened. That’s why I keep my hands off,” he said.

“They’re old enough to defend themselves,” he added. Estrada has another son in the Senate, newly-elected Sen JV Ejercito.

What advice can the former senator and president give to his senator-sons? “Tell the truth. As long as they’re not guilty, they have nothing to fear. They know what they’re doing,” he said.


Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.