Jinggoy says he gave away free 'bangus', not bribes


Posted at May 04 2020 08:57 AM | Updated as of May 04 2020 10:54 AM

Jinggoy says he gave away free 'bangus', not bribes 1
Ex-senator Jinggoy Estrada is brought to a police station in San Juan on Sunday, May 3, 2020. Photo courtesy of Ryan Michael Javier

MANILA (UPDATE) - Former senator Jinggoy Estrada rejected Monday allegations that he was giving away money to San Juan residents over the weekend, prompting authorities to bring him to a police station for allegedly violating quarantine measures. 

Speaking to ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Estrada said he was merely giving away free bangus (milkfish) from his mother's fish pond.

"Dalawang linggo na ako namimigay ng libreng bangus galing fishpond ng mommy ko. Sa sobrang dami ng bangus, sabi ng mommy ko ipamigay sa mahihirap," he said. 

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Estrada, a former mayor of San Juan, said police "singled him out" when they questioned his staff for violating social distancing measures during the relief operations. 

He also criticized San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora for trying to stop him from helping residents. 

"Wala daw ako permit. Namimigay lang tayo ng bangus...Bakit ako hinihingan ng permit? Why single me out? It's plain harassment," he said. 

He denied that he was giving away money to residents. "Bangus lang po ang pinamimigay ko, pagkain na kailangan ng tao," he said. 

"Assuming, assuming totoo ang sinasabi niya (what he is saying is true), I think there's nothing wrong [with that]. People are hungry, people have no work. He should understand that," he said in an earlier interview. 

"Hindi nila ako mapipigilan...Gagawa at gagawa ako ng paraan," he added. 

The former senator earlier accused Zamora of blocking a mobile market that sold goods at half the price, which was an initiative of his daughter Janella.

Janella was defeated in the last elections by Zamora.

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Zamora said the former senator had been violating quarantine measures for 6 days, which had reached the national government's monitoring teams.

He added that the Metro Manila police conducted the operation after receiving reports that Estrada was conducting relief operations without securing a permit from the local government.

"There’s no politics involved here. What I don’t understand is (former) Sen. Estrada has been repeatedly doing all of these without any coordination with the local government, without securing any permits," Zamora told ANC.

He said Estrada's relief efforts were drawing crowds in violation of the guidelines on physical distancing.

"Nag-iikot, parating maraming tao, walang social (physical) distancing," he said in a TV Patrol interview.

(He's going around, there's always a crowd, there's no social distancing.)

"Hindi po biro ang panahon ngayon, we are under enhanced community quarantine," he said, adding that as a former lawmaker, Estrada should be the first to follow the law. 

Zamora said he had approved the request of Janella to provide free medicine to San Juan citizens and he would do the same if the former senator wrote him.

"Yes, definitely. If the former senator writes me a request, I will immediately grant it," he said.