MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said Wednesday he might seek a Senate seat again in the 2022 elections and that he hopes his pork barrel cases could be resolved before the filing of candidacy in October.
Estrada said he was encouraged by surveys that showed he was still in the "winning" circle, adding that he still had "unfinished business" in the lawmaking chamber. He previously ran in the 2019 senatorial elections, but failed to secure 1 of the 12 seats.
"There is a strong possibility that I might run for the Senate again...I'm inclined to run," he told ANC's "Headstart".
One of the perceived reasons Estrada lost in the last elections was that he and his brother JV Ejercito split the votes as they both vied for the Senate.
Estrada said they haven't talked yet, but he has reached out to Ejercito. He said his brother's candidacy would be a "big factor" for his decision to run.
"Mabuti na 'yung iisa lang ang Estrada ang tumakbo kasi minsan nalilito ang ating mga botante kung sino sa aming dalawa. Siguro it’s high time that we get to talk to each other," he said.
(It would be better if only 1 Estrada runs because sometimes, our voters get confused who to choose between us. Maybe it's high time that we get to talk to each other.)
He added, there is also a "possibility" that their family asks Ejercito to instead run for mayor of San Juan City, which is currently headed by Francis Zamora after beating Estrada's daughter in the 2019 elections.
In a statement issued later in the day, Ejercito said: "Everyone has the right to run for public office. But it is the prerogative of the people to choose a candidate with integrity, honesty and track record."
If he'll run in next year's elections, he's banking on his "good track record," he said.
"In my case, if I decide to run it’ll be because I believe I have a good track record, I never stole public funds and, more importantly, I want to ensure that Universal Health becomes a reality for every Filipino."
Ejercito is the principal author of the Senate version of the Universal Health Care Law, which ensures all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health goods and services and protection against financial risks.
HOPES FOR SUPREME COURT RESOLUTION OF PORK BARREL CASES
Estrada is hoping the Supreme Court would decide on his case before the filing of candidacy for next year's elections in October, following the developments in Sen. Bong Revilla's case.
The Sandiganbayan has granted Revilla's demurrer to evidence that effectively dismissed the last remaining cases against him in relation to his alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Revilla, Estrada, and former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile were accused of receiving kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for funneling part of their discretionary funds to bogus non-government organizations.
Estrada believes Revilla's acquittal will "boost" his case that is still pending before the Supreme Court.
"Malaking tulong sa akin yun, yung pagka-acquit ni Sen. Bong Revilla, kasi almost similar yung aming kaso. Masaya ako dahil na-acquit yung aking best friend at siguro I’m praying ganun din lumabas yung aking kaso," he said.
(That's a big help for me, Sen. Bong Revilla's acquittal, because our cases are almost similar. I am happy that my best friend was acquitted, and I'm praying my case will also come out that way.)
"I am just hoping that the Supreme Court will resolve or decide on my case before elections or before filing. 'Yun ang aking panalangin (That is my prayer)," he said.
"Malaking bagay. During the time of the last administration, we were really demonized. We were pictured as scoundrels in government. Kailangan talagang ma-vindicate 'yung aming pangalan," he said.
(That is a big thing. During the time of the last administration, we were really demonized. We were pictured as scoundrels in government. Our names must be vindicated.)