MANILA - Senator Juan Ponce Enrile believes Senator Jinggoy Estrada will be able to hurdle the pork barrel scandal and may even end up president in 2016.
Asked for his birthday wish for Estrada, who turned 51 on Monday, Enrile said: “I hope that he will hurdle all challenges before him and he will become president of the country…Yun naman ang dream ng lahat ng pulitiko, di ba?”
Estrada’s father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, also believes his son will still be active in politics in 2016.
The older Estrada said the pork barrel scam will only have a short-term effect on Jinggoy’s political career. He said his son will be able to defend himself in court amid the bad publicity he is getting now.
During the Senate session on Monday afternoon, the younger Estrada blasted Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III for supposedly pre-judging him in the pork scam.
Estrada said that “if he [Guingona] chooses that battle, I will give him that battle, no problem with me. Magkakasama tayong lahat pero para husgahan ako na ako’y guilty, di ako papayag. Lalabanan ko yan dahil wala ako kasalanan sa taumbayan.”
While it was a tension-filled afternoon, Estrada later invited his colleagues to a merienda (snack) to celebrate his 51st birthday. He said the invitation is also extended to those who have pre-judged him.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano jokingly said that he hopes the CCTV will capture those who will bring food to the gathering. Last week, Estrada claimed that Tuason brought him merienda, not kickbacks as she alleged in her testimony.
Tuason claimed she personally delivered Estrada’s kickbacks from his pork barrel allocations from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to his office in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Enrile refused to comment on Tuason’s allegations in connection with his alleged role in the pork barrel scam.
Tuason said she would meet with Enrile’s chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, to deliver the kickbacks, but she never turned over the money to Enrile himself.
Enrile said it’s not his style to comment on such matters in public since there is a proper forum for this.
Enrile himself celebrated his 90th birthday on February 14.
He said he wishes he will still be alive when he turns 91 next year.
He said he also wishes that Senator Miriam Santiago, his known enemy, will become a private prosecutor in his case.
Enrile said he suffered from total blindness in his right eye for 15 minutes prior to his birthday, but his vision returned and doctors immediately gave him a clean bill of health.