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Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada
Cautious toward impeachment
MANILA, Philippines – While he is a staunch critic of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Estrada has been careful in criticizing the decisions of the highest court of the land. He also approaches the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona with caution, with memories of his father’s own impeachment still fresh in his mind.
In December 2011, Estrada revealed an alleged plot to unseat Enrile to ensure the conviction of Corona. Estrada vowed to support Enrile. Aquino allies at the Senate, however, denied the ouster plot. Estrada later backtracked, saying he was merely joking.
But at the House of Representatives, his half-brother, Rep. JV Ejercito, is one of 188 lawmakers who voted to impeach the Chief Justice.
In 2003, the allies of Sen. Estrada’s father, former President Estrada filed an impeachment complaint against Corona (still an associate justice then), then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, and 6 other Supreme Court justices for upholding the legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency after EDSA II. The House dismissed the impeachment complaint.
Sen. Estrada said that Corona’s impeachment was reminiscent of his father’s impeachment in 2000. He said that Corona’s impeachment caught him by surprise because he was not aware that House members were even planning to vote on it.
“[In my father’s impeachment], the former Speaker [Manny Villar] did not entertain any questions when they got the necessary signatures to transmit the articles of impeachment here (Senate). It was already railroaded.”
Sen. Estrada was charged with and arrested for plunder for allegedly conspiring with his father in acquiring ill-gotten wealth. While the Sandiganbayan convicted his father, the anti-graft court acquitted the senator of the plunder charges in 2007. Arroyo later pardoned his father.
Education: AB Economics, University of the Philippines
Senate committee: Senate President Pro-Tempore
Professional background: Movie actor
Current term: 2010-2016
Eligible for reelection? No. Estrada is currently serving his second consecutive term at the Senate. He was first elected to the chamber in 2004. He ran for reelection and won a second term in 2010.
Political Party: Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)
Estrada belongs to the bloc of his close ally and partymate Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. The Philippine Star reported that the other members of the bloc are Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Gregorio Honasan.
Position aired or published on Corona or on issues related to the Articles of Impeachment:
In February 2010, Estrada was among 12 senators who signed a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate” that then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not make midnight appointments in the judiciary, like choosing the next chief justice.
Estrada said that the flip-flopping “is the problem of the Supreme Court.” He was quoted by GMA News as saying, “Although we may disagree with the decision of the Court, we have to follow the fundamental law of the land.”
Estrada said the decision saddened him but government should just file charges against the Arroyos in court. “Nakakalungkot baka hindi na siya bumalik. Doon lang ako kinakabahan. Okay naman mag-seek ng medical treatment, magpagamot abroad dahil karapatan naman ng bawat mamamayan iyon. Kaya lang, ‘yung trust issue, ‘yun ang bumabagabag sa aking isipan.” (It saddens me because she might not come back. That’s what makes me nervous. It’s okay to seek medical treatment abroad because that’s the right of every citizen. But the trust issue, that’s what bothers me.) – Rappler.com
Sources: Senate website, press statements of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, GMA News, Philippine Star