© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks
CHICAGO — Former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” P. Estrada took up law at Lyceum University but did not graduate. However, he showed that he could hold a candle against a lawyer when he refused to comment on a vexing dilemma — that if he commented on a court case, he is damn, and he is also damn if he doesn’t.
When Filipino American lawyer Rodel E. Rodis posted a comment in his Facebook account, Rodis had no idea if he was responding to a FB page owned by Estrada.
In his comment on an FB page of one CitiSen Jee, Rodis, said, “Even if all evidence points towards Jinggoy’s guilt, you folks will still stand by him and disbelieve the evidence. Your blind loyalty is to the man.”
On this, Estrada commented on Rodis’ post, “Are you a lawyer?” I presume that Estrada was telling Rodis that a smart lawyer would not advise someone facing a criminal case to violate the sub judice (Latin for “under judgment) rule by commenting on a pending case.
This rule generally makes it inappropriate to make a public comment in a pending case which could lead to contempt of court proceedings. This is particularly true in criminal cases, in which public discussion of cases that are sub judice may constitute interference with due process.
Then, CitiSen Jee, followed up his comment, “If yes, maybe you flunked twice in the bar and passed on the third try! Lawyers don’t talk that way.
“You even had the guts to tell Balitang Amerika that you’ll stage a rally wherever I go! Nasaan kayo! Hintayin ko kayo! (Where are you? I will wait for you!)
“I’m here in San Francisco now where I think you stay! “Puro salita ka lang! (You are all talk!)
Rodis reacted, “If you are not a Jinggoy fanatic easily seduced by his movie star charisma, watch this with open eyes. It is a video clip entitled, “How Jinggoy got P157 M from Janet Napoles.”
Estrada told Rodis, “I’m waiting for you! Ako na lang ang pupunta sa iyo! Give me your whereabouts and I’ll be there!”
Thinking that “CitiSen Jee” was not Jinggoy, Rodis, replied, “What do you want to do? Why? Because I exposed your idol as corrupt plunderer?
Then, Jinggoy responded, “Rodel Rodis ako mismo ito! (Rodel Rodis, this is me!)
“Rodel Rodis, don’t just pay lip service, panindigan mo lahat ng sinasabi mo! Mag ra-rally kayo kahit san ako magpunta sa America? Nasaan ka? Ni wala ka ngang mga tao, eh! Nandito ako ngayon. Panay dakdak at putak ang alam mong gawin, makapanira ka lang ng tao! (Keep your word of honor! Are you going to hold rally wherever I go to America? Where are you? You don’t even have people with you! I’m here now. You are all talk, which is all you do, just to destroy people’s reputation!)
Then the back-and-forth turned worse with the two trading insulting remarks.
Regarding Jinggoy’s speech last May 20 at Hibachi Buffet restaurant in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, Michigan, Filipino Star News editor, Tony Antonio, wrote:
“Please accept my sincerest gratitude to the invitation you have extended to me to grace this occasion. Please accept too my heart-felt appreciation to the warm welcome you have shown me.”
Estrada said, “the letter-invitation became a controversial issue and that all kinds of harsh words were thrown” at him. “I was even accused of manufacturing lies and falsifying document.”
Due to the controversy, he said, “many people told me not to push through with my trip here. But looking at all of you and the warm welcome and gracious hospitality you have shown me, my coming here is really worth it.”
The 53-year-old former senator said, “Alam po nyo, I am only enjoying a temporary liberty. I was recently granted bail by the Sandiganbayan after more than three years of being detained in Camp Crame. That’s why I cannot do the accusation hurled at me — falsifying document, misrepresentation or lying to the court or inventing an invitation so I can travel — because even a tiny, insignificant mistake can cost me my liberty.
“And I definitely do not wish that to happen.
“Why would I? Life in a detention cell is very difficult.”
Jinggoy has been charged with plunder, accused of receiving P183-million ($3.6 M) kickback from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in exchange of allocating his portions of his PDAF from 2004 and 2012 to the latter’s bogus foundations for the supposed implementation of his livelihood projects.
Jinggoy denied the charges, saying he did not commit any wrongdoing.
The invitation extended to him by Tony Antonio, a friend of Estrada, and Antonio’s friend, Willie Dechavez, was the basis of a Sandiganbayan order allowing Jinggoy to travel to Michigan.
Describing himself as a politician in the last 30 years, Estrada said in his speech, “I can honestly say that “politics in this day and age is more nasty, vicious and cruel.
“With the advent of social media and the existence of an ‘army of trolls,’ you have to be resilient so you can survive all the name-calling thrown at you. It seems that we Filipinos have become highly individualistic.
“What’s worse is that we tear each other apart over a small mistake or weakness.”
He noted that the issues plaguing the Philippines today are so extreme that these will have severe implications on our country.
“So obviously, there is a need to immediately address these issues,“ said Estrada, who is exploring a bid to reclaim his senatorial post in 2019.
“So let’s help. Let us be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem.”
He said he is quiet sure that “even you, who are here in the United States, are very much interested in what is happening in the Philippines, and your desire for a better, much improved Philippines is as passionate as your fellow Filipinos in the country.”
“Sa puso at isip, Pinoy pa din kayo, di po ba?
Kaya kahit nakatira na kayo dito sa America, at karamihan siguro sa inyo ay American citizen, alam kong inaalala pa din ninyo ang kapakanan ng Pilipinas,” he said.
He appealed, “Let’s stop being individualistic. Let’s rise with sincere heart and determination above our personal and selfish ends, and unite and help rebuild our country.”
He quoted his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada as saying, “Walang tutulong sa Pilipino kundi ang kapwa Filipino.”
Estrada said President Duterte “is sincere leader and is dedicated to eradicate the drug and corruption problems in the country. We need him to lead our country to a better Philippines. I admire what he is doing for our country.” ( [email protected])