SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Monday admitted to having endorsed a non-government organization (NGO) but said he did it out of carelessness and a lapse in judgment. He maintained that he did not receive kickbacks from the project.
“I was just careless in signing the endorsement. But I did not receive kickbacks,” he said.
Estrada is accused of amassing P183 million in kickbacks by pouring his pork barrel funds to bogus projects initiated by the non-government organizations affiliated with Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged pork barrel mastermind.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. are also facing plunder cases along with Napoles and others.
Estrada made the admission after yesterday’s bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, where the defense objected to pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy’s testimony.
Luy was expected to testify about the JLN disbursement reports that he had supposedly recorded and are contained in his external hard drive.
But Estrada’s camp argued that the witness’ providing access to the electronic files to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ran against the E-Commerce Act and the Anti-Cybercrime Law.
“If the source of your testimony is illegal, then it has no bearing (to the case). I maintain that I do not hide anything. If they want to open my files, that’s fine with me. The only thing I did was just to endorse an NGO. Maybe that was my only fault but I did nothing wrong other than that,” Estrada told reporters.
“There was no allegation that I had direct participation, that Mrs. Napoles handed me money. Even Benhur, he did not say anything that he handed me money…he denied in open,” he added.
Meanwhile, defense lawyer Alexis Abastillas-Suarez said Luy only copied his files from the computer of JLN, thus, it would be unlawful for him to introduce evidence without the permission or the consent of the owner of the files.