MANILA, Philippines – Sharing the same fate, father and son Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada hugged each other as the former President left his senator-son to face detention over plunder charges.
A convicted plunderer turned Manila mayor, the elder Estrada bid his
son farewell in Camp Crame in Quezon City before leaving with wife,
former Senator Loi Estrada, son Jude, and other relatives and friends
on board a coaster.
The Estradas accompanied the senator in Camp Crame as he surrendered to police Monday noon, June 23, shortly after the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for his arrest over the pork barrel scam. The family left about two hours later.
Watch as Senator Jinggoy Estrada arrived in Crame.
Jose Flaminiano, the senator’s lawyer, did not respond to questions
about where the Estrada family was going but said, “They will come
back. They will come back.”
While on board the coaster, a visibly somber former President Estrada refused to answer questions about his last conversation with his son. The two had a longer conversation Monday morning at their home in Polk Street in San Juan, where they were arrested 13 years ago also for plunder charges for allegedly receiving payoffs from the illegal numbers game jueteng.
Then San Juan mayor, the younger Estrada was acquitted while his
father was convicted but soon pardoned.
While cleared in the first case, the younger Estrada again faces a
plunder charge and 11 counts of graft for allegedly pocketing P183
million ($4.18 million) in kickbacks in an elaborate corruption
scheme. He is accused of funneling his discretionary funds known the Priority Development Assistance Fund to fake non-governmental organizations in exchange for kickbacks.
He is the second senator implicated in the scam to surrender,
following bosom buddy and fellow actor Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr on Friday. There is still no decision on Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile’s motion to determine probable cause.
‘We’ll fight in court’
Flaminiano also left soon after the Estradas departed Camp Crame.
Speaking about the senator’s condition, the lawyer told reporters, “He is in high spirits. Tanggap na niya ang mga pangyayari. Ilalaban na lang namin sa Sandiganbayan.” (He has accepted the events. We will just fight it out in court.)
Flaminiano set the court set a hearing for their petition for bail on Friday.
“Effectively, he is already under PNP (Philippine National Police) custody. The treatment of the police is okay, very good,” Flaminiano said.
It is still unknown where Estrada will be detained pending a so-called
commitment order from the court.
Like in 2001, the Estradas cry political persecution for the new
plunder charge the senator faces. Decrying “selective justice”
targeting opposition lawmakers, Senator Estrada argued that it was the implementing agencies that were responsible for vetting the NGOs that received millions of pesos from his pork barrel fund allocations.
Estrada said the whistleblowers have no direct evidence against him,
and socialite-turned-self-confessed bagman Ruby Tuason could not say the exact amount she supposedly gave him.
Yet the former aides of Napoles and Tuason said he received kickbacks either directly or through his former appointments secretary Pauline Labayen. A Commission on Audit (COA) report also showed he repeatedly endorsed Napoles NGOs for what turned out to be ghost projects. – Rappler.com