MANILA - Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said bringing his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, to his detention cell in Camp Crame is one of the saddest chapters of his life.
Estrada told radio dzMM in Filipino: “It’s so hard being a father seeing your child like that. I went to see him twice. I really pity him. My grandchildren were crying. It was too hot in there, like it was a microwave.”
He said he would rather be jailed than see his son suffer. “If only I could act as proxy for Jinggoy, if only I could be the one to be detained.”
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ordered the arrest of the younger Estrada on Monday morning after finding enough basis to proceed with the plunder and graft raps filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Before the warrant was served, however, the senator proceeded to surrender at the home of his father in Polk Street, Greenhills in San Juan. He was finally detained at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Estrada said complaints on the ventilation at the detention cell were justified. “[To the critics] You do not understand the law. It’s OK if he’s already convicted, but a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
He said Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, who surrendered and was brought there on Friday, shared his electric fan with Jinggoy.
Estrada hopes Senator Juan Ponce Enrile will not go through the same. “Manong Johnny is already 90. He might not reach his next birthday if he spends his detention there.”
The former president said he can only hope now that the Sandiganbayan will favor his son’s motion for bail.
He said the prosecution can only anchor its hope on the testimony of Ruby Tuason, who, he said, has a “questionable character.” Tuason used to be his social secretary.
“I saw their pity state before. Now, they [Tuason] live in Dasmarinas Village,” he said.
He said he asked Jinggoy to tell him the truth, “but he insisted he did not have a hand in the channeling of the pork funds to the bogus NGOs [of Napoles].”
He said it should be Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and several other Cabinet officials who should be liable for allowing the release of funds to ghost projects.