At campaign launch, Jinggoy calls 'pork' raps baseless

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2019 11:00 AM | Updated as of Feb 12 2019 09:26 PM

Brothers JV Ejercito (left) and Jinggoy Estrada (right) raise their hands together as a gesture of support during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign launch in San Fernando, Pampanga on Tuesday. The erstwhile estranged half-brothers joined other senatorial candidates running under Sara Duterte's Hugpong ng Pagbabago as the official campaign period for the election opens. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

PAMPANGA - Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday hit back at the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III for filing charges against him in connection with the pork barrel scam, as he seeks to return to the Senate.

Esrtrada is one of the 13 Senate hopefuls of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the regional party of President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, joining his half-brother, incumbent Senator JV Ejercito with whom he has a long-standing rift.

In his brief speech during the campaign kickoff, Estrada stressed that he is innocent of the charges against him, and that he and fellow former lawmakers Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, both running this May polls, are victims of “selective justice.”

“Pinagbakasyon kami nung nakaraaang administrasyon dahil sa walang basehang kaso,” Estrada said.

“Pwede kaming humarap ni Bong, at sabihin sa inyo wala kaming kasalanan sa taumbayan. Kami ay napag-initan nung nakaraang administrasyon.”

Estrada, who has been out on bail since September 2017, is accused of pocketing P183 million in kickbacks from fake projects, purportedly with help from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged scam mastermind.

He was granted bail by the anti-graft court on the basis that he was not the "main plunderer."

In a peace and order summit in Legazpi City, Albay last Friday, Feb. 8, President Duterte raised Estrada’s hand.

Meanwhile, Revilla also lamented his more than 4 years of incarceration before he was eventually acquitted of the plunder charge in December last year.

“Four years, six months akong nakakulong. One year akong dinurog sa media. Para kang buhay na tinatalupan. Ang sakit na tumatagos sa iyong pamilya, yung lahat ng sakit na naramdaman namin nawala lahat dahil sa napakainit na pagtanggap niyo ngayon,” Revilla told a loud crowd in Pampanga.