Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Wednesday maintained that he is a victim of an unfair and selective investigation but said he will willingly go to jail even if he is innocent.
In a privileged speech delivered on Wednesday afternoon, Estrada reiterated that
he is not capable of doing something illegal like stealing public funds.
“Matatag at malakas ang aking paninindigan na ako ay walang kasalanan [I firmly believe that I am innocent],” he said.
The senator is accused of plundering his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
He said he will not go into hiding to escape arrest.
“Di nila ako kailangang hanapin at kaladkarin kung kailangan kaming arestuhin dahil ako mismo ang susuko [Authoities don’t have to look for me because I will surrender and present myself to them],” Estrada added.
He noted that he was placed on the spot because of the concerted and selective investigation done by the Commission on Audit (COA), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Senate blue ribbon committee headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd.
Estrada cited a special audit report released by the COA Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan in August 2013 revealing the names of hundreds of legislators who allegedly endorsed their pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Tan, he said, only focused on him and senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong’ Revilla Jr.
According to him, P14.3 billion was released to 334 lawmakers from 2007 to 2009 and part of this amount was endorsed to some 83 NGOs based on the COA report but it was only the three of them who were given “special mention.”
He said they were not given fair treatment at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The senator claimed that their constitutional right to due process was trampled upon when the Ombudsman denied their request that they be given copies of the affidavit of the witnesses that were used by the anti-graft body to justify the filing of a complaint against them at the Sandiganbayan.
But Estrada said that while they failed to get fair treatment from the Senate, DOJ and Ombudsman, he has strong trust in the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan.
He assured his family that he can get past the challenges he is now facing and that his absence in the Senate will just be temporary.