MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has said he trusts Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to be fair to him and to the two other senators charged with plunder in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Estrada made the remark two days after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago called on Morales to start filing the charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against some of the 38 respondents in the plunder and graft cases related to the massive fraud.
Santiago told reporters on Friday that cases must be filed in court soon “because the public is getting jaded by these public revelations in the Senate probe plus they are not seeing any action.”
“I wish that the Ombudsman will not give in to the tremendous pressure and unfair publicity generated by this controversy with extreme prejudice against me and my two colleagues,” Estrada said in a statement.
“I also hope that she will not be rushed into making decisions and that she observes the proper legal processes, including the rights of the respondents during preliminary investigation,” he added.
Estrada said that Morales “will stay true to her widely referenced statement in relation to her appearance before the impeachment court where she said she is ‘impervious to influence’.”
“We were continually crucified and demonized in various forums, mass media, cyberspace, including the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. I sincerely hope that the Ombudsman will do better,” Estrada said.
Estrada expressed confidence in the counter-affidavit that he submitted before the Ombudsman, saying it already adequately answered the charges levelled against him by whistleblowers in the plunder case.
“I hope that the Ombudsman reads my formal written response to the allegations and finds that truly there is no plunder case or any case to speak of,” Estrada said.
Estrada, nonetheless, said he was ready for any eventuality, “including the unfortunate event that an information be filed before the Sandiganbayan.”
“I am ready to defend myself. My lawyers are aware of this possibility and they know what to do,” Estrada said.