MANILA - Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada said Wednesday a "high-ranking official" of the ruling political party, PDP-Laban, has talked to him as he continues to finalize his plans for the 2019 polls.
The former lawmaker, who is currently out on bail for plunder and graft charges, said he is inclined to run in 2019 because he has "unfinished business" in the Senate.
"I have a lot of bills that have to pass into law," said Estrada, noting that his Senate term was cut short after he faced charges in connection with the P10 billion "pork barrel" scam.
Asked about the PDP-Laban official who talked to him, Estrada said the PDP-Laban official is not President and party chairman Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Koko Pimentel or Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“I cannot divulge. I think he is a high-ranking official of PDP -Laban. He is not the SP (Senate President) and the [House] Speaker," he said.
Estrada said he is open to run under the administration's party in 2019 but would prefer that PDP-Laban coalesce with his Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). He said there is an existing coalition agreement between the two political parties.
His half brother Senator JV Ejercito, who earlier said there can only be one Estrada in the Senate, is also gearing up for possible re-election in 2019.
"I remember him saying or announcing to the media that if I decide to run he will give way. Sabi niya before pero parang iba na yata sinasabi niya ngayon," Estrada noted.
Asked if he will open his doors should the Liberal Party talk to him about the 2019 polls, Estrada said: “No way. Sa LP di na. No way.”
Since his release in 2017, Estrada said he has been going around the country to thank his supporters. Judging by the reception of the people, he believes the so-called "Erap" magic is still alive.
"The reception was really very, very warm. Iba nga. Ibang taong umiiyak nung nakita 'ko. Andun pa rin siguro yung Erap magic," said the son of former President and current Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada.
--report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News