By: Eric B. Apolonio, InterAksyon.com
MANILA - His presence at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) less than 24 hours after delivering a long, scathing speech denouncing "selective justice" sparked rumors that Senator Jinggoy Estrada may be making an "exit," but the senator quickly brushed this aside and saiod he was just sending off his parents who were bound for Japan.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and his wife, former Senator Loi Estrada, showed up at NAIA's Terminal 2 to take a Philippine Airlines flight to Japan, upon the invitation of the Yokohama Mayor.
Senator Estrada refused to say anything when asked about his being implicated in the alleged misuse of billions in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel saying simply, “abangan ang susunod na kabanata [wait for the next chapter of this story]”.
The younger Estrada stressed he is not leaving and will face the music, because he believes in the process. This, despite manifesting his deep disgust with what he deemed a seeming conspiracy within administration circles to pin down only opposition leaders like him on the pork barrel issue. “I am not leaving, it is my father (former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada) who is leaving for Japan, naghatid lang ako [I am just seeing him off]."
At one point, Jinggoy even asked several police officers, who are providing security for Mayor Estrada, not to come closer to him [Jinggoy] because "some dirty minds might think marami akong security [I have lots of bodyguards]."
Word went around thursday that the young Estrada is leaving the country a day after a no-holds barred privilege speech at the Senate, where he alleged that senator-judges received an additional P50 million each in “incentive” after a 20-3 vote that ousted then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment trial last year.
He named Senate President Franklin Drilon as one privy to the release of the money as reflected in a “private and confidential letter memorandum,” being chairman of the finance committee at the time.
Drilon denied the allegations and said he had not seen the letter.
Senator Estrada, meanwhile, seemed comforted by the crowds who mobbed him at the airport, mostly departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) asking to be photographed with him.
Erap eyes Japan aid for Manila flood control
“I'm going to Tokyo and Yokohama, the sister city of Manila. I was invited by the mayor of Yokohama, and of course the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” Mayor Estrada said.
He added that if given the opportunity, he would ask the mayor for financial assistance to finance the flood control project in Manila.
“Uunahin ko ang [I will give priority to the] flood control project in Manila,” he said.
Defending his son Jinggoy, Mayor Estrada said that the latter named several legislators and fellow senators who received PDAF during his privilege speech because these names are reflected in the special audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA).
“Jinggoy named names so that the public will know that the three opposition senators are not the only ones who should be investigated,” Estrada said.