MANILA - Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada believes his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, was careless about his pork barrel funds but is innocent of the crime of stealing public funds.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Estrada said his son has no intention of misusing his priority development assistance funds (PDAF).
He pointed out that during his time as senator, he usually let his secretary handle his pork barrel allocations as long as the applications are in order.
"Maybe he was just careless. He doesn't have that intention to take advantage of his PDAF," he said.
Instead, the former president placed the blame on the scam solely on the budget department and implementing agencies, saying they are the ones who check if a non-government organization is legitimate or not.
"They do not tell me where the pork barrel is going. You just apply. I would say because the implementation of that will go to the implementing agencies and then before the release, the DBM will examine. They are the ones who should see to it where the money is going," he said.
"They are the ones handling the money. That is their duty, not the senator," he added.
Estrada said the scam could actually be a set up cooked up by the Department of Justice with the whistle-blowers.
"Well, this can be a set-up. Even the DOJ can talk to this people and say, blame these senators. Name them, name them," he aid.
During the interview, the former president also castigated his former social secretary, Ruby Tuason, for implicating Jinggoy in the scam.
Tuason earlier told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that she personally delivered pork barrel kickbacks from Janet Lim Napoles to Estrada's office in the Senate.
The senator confirmed that Tuason visited him in the Senate but only to deliver food and not money.
The former president said Tuason is testifying against Jinggoy to save herself from prosecution.
"I know her from the start. She's a poor lady. She has nothing. Why does she live in Dasmarinas from nowhere? She just wants to save herself. That's why she did that. She was coached," he said.
Asked if he could be blind to his son's faults, he said: "My eyes are clear."
He also said an accused is always presumed innocent unless proven guilty. He said his son was already accused of plunder during the Arroyo administration but was acquitted by the anti-graft court.
The Office of the Ombudsman has filed plunder and graft charges against three senators - Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. - and other personalities tagged in the pork barrel scam.
According to the case filed before the Sandiganbayan, Senator Jinggoy Estrada is accused of plundering P183.79 million in PDAF with the help of Pauline Labayen, John Raymund de Asis and Mrs. Napoles.
In the interview, Estrada also opposed the creation of special courts to try the pork scam cases. He said all the accused will face conviction if special courts are created.
"Historically, even in Japan all these special courts are created to convict," he said.