MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, his wife and their four children are being subjected to lifestyle checks.
In a letter, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera has asked Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares to provide the Office of the Ombudsman with copies of the income tax return of Estrada.
He also sought for the “certified true and clear copies” of the ITR of Estrada’s wife Presentacion and their four children Janella Marie, Joseph Luis, Julian Emilio and Baby Julienne Ejercito.
The couple’s eldest daughter Janella Marie is a councilor of San Juan City.
Estrada described as “oppressive” the move to include his family in the lifestyle checks.
“There is really a concerted effort to pin me down,” he said. “Spare my family, especially my children.”
Estrada is more concerned about how the controversy would affect his youngest, eight year-old Julienne, who was conceived while Jinggoy was detained for plunder in connection with the jueteng issue that was eventually dismissed by the courts.
Estrada told The STAR the Office of the Ombudsman has most likely also made similar lifestyle checks on Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.
“This is clearly part of the political persecution against us,” he said.
Estrada decried the anti-graft agency’s decision to include members of his family in the lifestyle checks.
Estrada said he had not been notified about the move of the Office of the Ombudsman until he got wind of the reports over the weekend.
“I will be meeting with my lawyers to determine our next action on this one,” he said in Filipino.
The lifestyle check report surfaced amid reports that the Sandiganbayan is expected to issue warrants of arrest against Estrada, Enrile and Revilla within the week.
In his letter to Henares, Mosquera invoked the accountability of public officials, as well as the powers vested on the anti-graft agency under the Ombudsman Act of 1989 to ask for the ITRs of Estrada and his family.
The period covers the ITRs from 2007 to 2012, the same years which were subject of the special audit of the Commission on Audit on the alleged pork barrel fund misuse of some lawmakers.