Jinggoy defends sale of property to Napoles
MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada defended on Friday the sale of his 600-square-meter property in Cubao, Quezon City to the family of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Estrada issued the statement amid the claims of Marina Sula, one of the whistle-blowers in the pork barrel anomaly, that Napoles bought the property located on EDSA corner P. Tuason Street from the senator in 2011.
“There is nothing wrong. It was a legitimate transaction. I needed the money so I sold the 600-square-meter property, which I acquired from the Antonios who mortgaged it to the bank. I assumed the balance,” Estrada said in an interview.
“That’s the problem. When it is about me, they find me guilty by association. But when Napoles is linked to others, they say it’s ‘guilt by photography’,” he said.
“It was sold some two years ago. I needed the money at the time. It was just after the election year. She had a lot of money so I sold the property to her,” the senator said.
Estrada brushed aside insinuations of irregularity in the transaction.
“If it was the other way around, if she sold a property to me, that would mean I have lots of money,” Estrada said.
He said he acquired the lot when he was still mayor of San Juan.
Unlike other senators, Estrada maintained he never denied knowing Napoles.
“She is a friend. She is a businesswoman. Actually, the transaction was not between the two of us. It was the son, not the mother, who bought the property,” he said, adding that the buyer assumed the tax for capital gains.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday said it is prepared to secure the proceedings of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing at the headquarters of the Special Action Force at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna when Napoles takes the witness stand on the pork barrel scam.
Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office chief, said there is a secure structure inside the camp to accommodate the senators and their staff during the hearing.
Sindac said the structure is beside the bungalow detention of Napoles, who has been locked up for almost two months for the alleged serious illegal detention of Benhur Luy, one of the whistle-blowers of the scam.
Sindac said some minor adjustments would be made in the structure, which was also used during the court trial of Moro National Liberation Front founding chair Nur Misuari. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe