SEN. Jinggoy Estrada admitted on Wednesday that the number 13 is especially controversy-laden for him and with the ending of 2013, the lawmaker expects a more productive 2014 in terms of meaningful legislation and public service, and a more auspicious period marked with resolution and absence of controversies.
“This year has been a very challenging time for me and my family. I, together with my two colleagues in the chamber, have been unfairly accused in connection to the so-called pork barrel scam. I trust that in due time, the truth will come out and my name will be cleared,” Estrada said in a statement.
Estrada, together with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., were implicated in the multibillion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy last year and are currently facing plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The senator also noted that his father, former president Joseph Estrada, also had not so good experience with the number 13, who assumed as the 13th president of the Philippines in 1998 but his term was cut short and was forcefully removed from office in 2001.
“Thirteen years later, I am now the one charged by the Department of Justice,” he noted.
But with the end of a very challenging 2013, Estrada expressed optimism that 2014 will be a year with lesser controversy although he maintained that the intrigues last year did not deter him from performing his job and carrying out legislative duties and his pro-poor advocacies.
Estrada, who chairs that Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, hopes to carry on with the healthy cooperation and productive collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment and active stakeholders in the labor sector in crafting and pushing for the passage of beneficial laws and policies in the years to come.
The lawmaker is looking forward to the swift passage of several priority labor measures such as the proposed Magna Carta for Seafarers, Apprenticeship Bill and the Bill Strengthening the Public Employment Service Office (PESO).
Estrada is the author of Republic Act 10361, or more popularly known as the “Batas Kasambahay,” the act which institutes policies for the protection and welfare of domestic workers, which was signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in January 2013.
Before the conclusion of the 15th Congress, President Aquino also signed two more priority measures pushed by the Senate Labor Committee—Republic Act 10395, or an Act Strengthening Tripartism, and Republic Act 10396, or an Act Strengthening Conciliation-Mediation as a Voluntary Mode for Dispute Settlement for all Labor Cases.
“I am fully committed to making the best out of my remaining two years in office as a senator. I will work even harder and double and triple my efforts to serve the people and the masses,” the senator said.