MANILA – Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has been turned over to and detained at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center at Camp Crame hours after the police served the warrant of arrest issued by the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan.
Estrada’s detention came two days after Senator Bong Revilla was also brought to Camp Crame where he has been detained since last Friday (June 20).
Estrada and members of his family led by former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada escorted the embattled senator as he surrendered to authorities Monday morning (June 23). After the booking process and medical checkup in the camp, Estrada and his family and supporters waited for his commitment order until past noon.
Now detained for graft and plunder that stemmed from his alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Estrada said his next move is to seek bail although plunder is a non-bailable offense. His legal counsel has already filed a motion for bail with the anti-graft court.
Before Estrada went to Camp Crame, he first fetched his parents in their house at North Greenhills in San Juan. He was also accompanied by his wife Precy Vitug Ejercito and their four children, including their youngest daughter.
His mother, former Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, blamed the Aquino administration for the charges filed against her son. She said the Department of Budget and Management and implementing agencies should be blamed for the so called pork barrel scam.
“Hindi senators ang may kasalanan dito, kundi yung implementing agencies. Kung hindi pa nag-away si Benhur (Luy) at si (Janet) Napoles, hindi pa madidiscover. That’s more than 10 years (This is not the fault of the senators but the implementing agencies’. If Benhur and Napoles did not fight, then this will not be discovered. That’s more than 10 years),” Loi said in a television interview.
The former senator also appealed for a “fair fight.”
“Sana naman patas yung laban, sana no pressures (I hope for a fair fight, I hope there’ll be no pressures),” she added.
Mayor Estrada, meanwhile, urged his son to be strong.
“Lakasan mo ang loob mo, mao-overcome mo rin ito [Be strong, you’ll soon overcome this],” Estrada said.
He also added that this is just a “replay” of what happened during the Arroyo administration. Erap and Jinggoy were both charged with plunder in 2001. Jinggoy was acquitted while Erap was convicted and sentenced to reclusion perpetua but was granted executive clemency by President Gloria Arroyo in 2007.
The staff and supporters of Estrada also arrived at Camp Crame, wearing white shirts printed with the words: “Keep the faith and hold on. It might be stormy now, but the sun will shine again.”
Estrada faces one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft. He allegedly pocketed P183.79 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund. (Manila Bulletin)