Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on Sunday said that he is ready for any eventuality in relation with the plunder complaint he and other senators are facing at the Office of the Ombudsman, including the possible filing of criminal charges against them before the Sandiganbayan.
“I am ready to defend myself. My lawyers are aware of this possibility and they know what to do,” Estrada said.
The lawmaker, along with senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., is currently facing plunder raps filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
The opposition senator at the same time said that he trusts that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales would remain true to her word that she would remain impartial amid the publicity generated by the controversy.
Estrada particularly cited Morales’ widely referenced statement in relation to her appearance during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona where she said she “is impervious to influence.”
“I wish that the Ombudsman will not give in to the pressure and unfair publicity generated by this controversy with extreme prejudice against me and my two colleagues. I also hope that she will not be rushed into making decisions and that she observes the proper legal processes, including the rights of the respondents during preliminary investigation,” Estrada said.
It has been six months since the Office of the Ombudsman received the complaint against the three senators, two members of the House of Representatives, several government officials and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in relation to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.
The lawmakers were accused of endorsing millions of their pork barrel allocation to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) put up by Napoles in exchange for commissions.
Senators have denied the accusations and claimed that the controversy is just part of a grand plan to destroy the opposition in preparation for the 2016 presidential elections.
“We were continuously crucified and demonized in various forums, mass media, cyberspace, including the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. I sincerely hope that the Ombudsman will do better,” he stated.
Estrada also expressed confidence in the counter-affidavit that he submitted before the Ombudsman, claiming that it already adequately answered the charges leveled against him by his accusers.
“I hope that the Ombudsman reads my formal written response to the allegations and finds that truly there is no plunder case or any case to speak of,” the senator added.