MANILA, Philippines – Plunder defendant Jinggoy Estrada said on Monday, October 2, that a field investigating officer (FIO) from the Office of the Ombudsman offered to downgrade his plunder charges to graft in exchange for money.
“Para babaan daw yung kaso ko imbis na plunder graft na ang daw. Sabi ko sige tuloyan niyo na kako wala akong tinatago (Supposedly to downgrade my charges, instead of plunder, it will just be graft. I told them go ahead with the plunder case, I have nothing to hide),” Estrada said on Monday after the hearing of the first day of his plunder trial.
Estrada said however that he has forgotten the name of the investigator, just that the offer occurred sometime in 2013 when the charges were still at the prosecutor level. Pressed for the amount asked, whether in the millions or a billion, Estrada said: “Hindi naman (Not really.)”
Estrada said he will no longer file a complaint against the investigator because it was useless. Estrada said his testimony won’t be necessary if ever President Rodrigo Duterte does create a commission to investigate the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged corruption.
“Hindi siguro, hindi naman siguro (Maybe not),” was Estrada’s short response when asked.
On the first day of his plunder trial on Monday, the prosecution presented witnesses from the Office of the Senate Secretary, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Commission on Audit (COA).
Estrada dismissed all of their testimonies as irrelevant.
“The first witness presented my Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) ko, there’s nothing wrong with my SALN. The other one is from BIR, there is nothing wrong with my income tax returns, the other one is from COA, she has no knowledge about it, it’s all irrelevant,” Estrada said.
The prosecution is now building up to their case, starting with a comparison of Estrada’s declared wealth and his income taxes. Prosecution said Estrada’s wealth reached as much as P195 million but paid income taxes of only as much as P5 million.
“Siyempre gagawa ng eksena 'yan dahil wala naman silang ibang ebidensya laban sakin….Sa akin walang bilang yan eh. For me, it is totally irrelevant. Ang pinag uusapan natin dito ay ang plunder, hindi yung ill gotten wealth,” Estrada said.
(Of course, they will make a scene because they don’t have any other evidence against me. For me, it’s not in the calculation. For me, it is totally irrelevant because what we’re talking about here is plunder, not ill-gotten wealth.)