Estrada returns from US amid plunder, graft charges
MANILA - Senator Jinggoy Estrada on late Monday night returned from the United States amid the plunder and graft charges he is facing in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
He arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, airport sources said.
In an interview on radio dzMM after his arrival, Estrada said he went to Los Angeles and San Francisco to have his wife and his knee checked.
"Nagkaroon din tayo ng pagkakataon doon para magdasal ng taimtim noong Semana Santa," he said.
Estrada said he is ready to face allegations against him at the Sandiganbayan.
"Doon na lang tayo sa proper forum, sa husgado," he said.
He said he wants a fair trial. "Iyan lang po ang aking ipinagdarasal. Ilang buwan na kaming nagsa-suffer sa trial by publicity. Ang tingin tuloy sa amin ng taumbayan, magnanakaw na kami."
"Gusto ko na ngang mapabilis iyang kaso na iyan para lumabas na ang buong katotohanan. Wala kaming kasalanan. Inosente po kami sa lahat ng paratang sa amin. Nasa kamay na ng Sandiganbayan iyan," he added.
Estrada also believes that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's former chief of staff, lawyer Gigi Reyes, won't turn state witness against them in connection with the pork barrel scam.
"Sa pagkakaalam ko, she (Gigi Reyes) is ready to face the charges against her," he said."Malabo siguro mangyari iyon na maging state witness si Atty. Reyes."
"She came here voluntarily. She is ready to face charges," Estrada said.
The 51-year-old senator earlier filed a motion for reconsideration at the Office of the Ombudsman, just days after it found basis to file plunder and graft charges against him and several others including Senators Enrile and Bong Revilla, and alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Napoles.
In his motion, Estrada claimed he was not given reasonable opportunity to contest the findings.
He also questioned the credibility of several whistleblowers.
“I'm not fazed by these charges against me because as I've read the resolution of the Ombudsman, the case against me is really very, very weak. I've been there before. I've been charged for plunder ten years ago only to be acquitted of the charges against me by the Sandiganbayan,” he said.
He said the only “fault” he did per the resolution was to endorse repeatedly several nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
“Well, as far as I'm concerned these NGOs were accredited by the implementing agencies so they cannot fault me for that,” he said.
Estrada, a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016, believes he and other lawmakers have been unfairly targeted.
During his stay in the US, he told ABS-CBN News' North America Bureau that he has no plans of resigning.
“I was voted into office by 18 million Filipinos. I'm going to serve up to the last day of my term alang-alang sa lahat nang bumoto sa akin,” he said. - with reports from Eric Dastas, dzMM; Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau