Jinggoy plans surrender sans fanfare
MANILA (UPDATE) – Senator Jinggoy Estrada is planning to surrender to the Sandiganbayan sans fanfare amid reports that the anti-graft court's fifth division will order his arrest today.
Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph ''Erap'' Estrada said his son is ready to go to jail.
''May balita na ngayon daw aarestuhin si Jinggoy, nakahanda na naman siya,'' Estrada told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
The former president, however, said his son prefers to surrender ''quietly'' and not be accompanied by supporters.
''Siyempre naman sasamahan ko. Sabi niya, tahimik lang tayo, huwag ng magpaalam para wala na masyadong maraming tao. Maraming gustong sumama eh. May plano na sasamahan si Jinggoy. Sabi ko huwag na lang, gugulo pa,'' he said.
The Sandiganbayan is expected to hand down its decision on the determination of probable cause against Estrada for plunder and graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Estrada is accused of plundering P183.79 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official name of congressional pork barrel. He is charged with one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.
In the interview, the former president said he is confident that his son will be able to weather this challenge.
The younger Estrada, who once served as mayor of San Juan, was jailed in 2001 for plunder, along with his father. He was later acquitted while the older Estrada was convicted.
''Kilala ko ang anak ko eh, naging mayor din yan, kamukha ko. Walang record yan."
Meanwhile Estrada again questioned the credibility of his former Social secretary, Ruby Tuason, who accused the senator of receiving pork barrel kickbacks.
''Iyung testigong kinuha nila, ewan ko kung binayaran. Siguro di binayaran, kaya tumestigo eh para isalba ang kaniyang sarili. Walang-wala iyon nung kinuha kong social secretary sa Malacañang. Talagang nangungupahan lang iyan. Biruin mo nasa Dasmariñas na. Saan kinuha iyon?"
Meanwhile, Senator Estrada said he is still hoping that the Sandiganbayan will not find probable cause to charge him for plunder and graft.
Estrada said he is not yet done packing his things, as he is still clinging to the possibility that the anti-graft court will not find probable cause and issue an arrest warrant against him.
''I am still preparing my things in any eventuality, in the unfortunate event the Sandiganbayan issues a warrant of arrest against me. But I am still hoping they grant our motion. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng Sandiganbayan,'' Estrada told ANC.
Estrada again maintained that he is innocent of the charges against him.
''Our arguments are very clear that there is really no plunder. I can only speak in behalf of my case. Absolutely there is no plunder in my case. I hope the justices will find time in analyzing our motion,'' he said.
The embattled senator said the testimonies of the witnesses against him, particularly that of Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, are weak and merely hearsay.
He added he acted on good faith when he endorsed the non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles which were later discovered to be bogus. He passed on the blame to the implementing agencies, which he said should be responsible for determining the credibility of an NGO which will receive pork barrel funds.
He also lambasted the Aquino government and the Commission on Audit for using the pork barrel scam to persecute him and fellow senators Ramon ''Bong'' Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Estrada said in case he is arrested, he will automatically file a motion for bail before the anti-graft court. He added he prefers to be placed under house arrest so he could still be with his family, but his lawyers are not yet preparing for this petition at this point.
Silver wedding anniversary
The senator admitted he has grown tired of being depicted as a criminal even though the courts have yet to prove his guilt.
He said it is particularly difficult for him to explain his situation to his youngest daughter.
He also shared that his children, anticipating his possible arrest, prepared a surprise for him and his wife for their silver wedding anniversary.
''Our children surprised us with a very simple wedding ceremony in the house of my dad yesterday in anticipation of our silver wedding anniversary this Saturday,'' he said.