Estrada ‘vacates’ Senate seat
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said goodbye to the Senate on Wednesday, saying he would temporarily vacate his post.
“Pansamantala kong babakantehin ang aking upuan nang nakataas ang noo. Buo ang loob at buo ang integridad, prinsipyo at pangalan dahil wala akong salaping pinakialaman sa kaban ng ating mahal na bayan,’’ Estrada said in a privilege speech.
(I would temporarily leave my seat with dignity. My integrity, principle and name remain unblemished because I didn’t touch the nation’s coffers.)
“Lalaban ako sa legal na proseso. Hindi ko ito uupuan lang. Yayakapin ko ang hustisya hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa aking pamilya at higit sa lahat para sa ating mga kababayan na umaasa at naniniwala pa din na ang bansang ito ay mapagkakatiwalaan at maipagmamalaki.”
(I will fight this legally. I will not sit on it. I will embrace justice not for my sake but also for my family and fellowmen’s sake who are hoping and believing that this country can be relied on and be a source of pride.)
Estrada, who has been charged with plunder at the Sandiganbayan in connection with the “pork barrel” scam, said he might be absent when Congress opens its regular sessions in July.
Congress will adjourn sine die this Wednesday and will resume its session on July 28, 2014.
“Marahil sa pagbubukas ng panibagong sesyon ng Mataas na Kapulungang ito sa darating na Hulyo, hindi niyo muna ako makikita ditto,” he said.
“Sa bibihira at limitadong pagkakataon, a-absent po ako sa Senado. Pero sandali lang po ito at babalik din ako,” he further said.
Estrada then thanked his family starting with his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who he said has been worried about him.
“Dad, huwag kang mag-alala, kaya ko ito (Dad, don’t worry, I can handle this),” he said.
“Sa panahong ito na hindi na kayo bumabata, naghahabol na akong makasama kayo. Ngunit gustuhin ko mang gugulin ang aking panahon para naman hindi ko pagsisihan at panghinayangan sa huli ang mga dapat ginagawa ko habang kayo ay kasama ko, panandalian ko pong hindi matutupad ito. Pero babawi po ako.”
(You are not getting any younger, I am catching up so we can be together. But I cannot do it right now I have to do what I have to. I will make it up to you.)
The senator also thanked his siblings – Jacquiline at Jude, who were present at the session hall while he was delivering his speech, for their support.
To his wife, Precy, Estrada asked for forgiveness for all the pains that he might have caused because of what he has been going through.
“Nawa’y manatili kang matatag lalong-lalo na para sa ating mga anak (I pray that you will be strong for our children),” he said of his wife.
“At sa nalalapit nating paggunita ng ika-dalawampu’t-limang (25) taon ng ating pag-iisang dibdib, nais ko sanang iharap kang muli sa dambana. Ngunit dahil hindi umaayon ang pagkakataon, gagawin ko pa din na ikaw ay pakasalan kahit ako ay nasa piitan.”
(For our 25th wedding anniversary, I would like also to bring you to the altar. Though developments hold me back, I will defy these and renew my vows even in jail.)
And to his children –Janella, Jolo, Julian at Jill, the senator reminded them to continue to be God-fearing, stay humble, and to be proud, not be ashamed of the name “Estrada.”
The senator said his fight was not yet over. In fact, he said, it was just about to start.
He said he would not also allow false accusations to destroy the people’s trust on him and would instead prove his supporters that he had not been remiss and had not abused his position.
“Sa mga taong hindi masaya sa pagtupad ko sa aking tungkulin bilang mambabatas, hindi kayo ang magiging dahilan ng aking pagsuko. Tutuparin ko pa rin ang aking pangako sa ating mga kababayan na sila ang palaging una sa aking paglilingkod, may rehas mang nakaharang o wala,” said the senator.
Estrada reiterated that he would voluntarily surrender to authorities once a warrant of arrest was issued by the Sandiganbayan.
He also repeatedly stated that he was innocent of the charges being hurled at him.
“Nais kong ipakadiin – HINDI AKO MAGNANAKAW. Alam ko kung ano ang nararapat para sa akin at kung ano ang halagang dapat pakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.
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