Jinggoy Estrada on motion for transfer to city jail: ‘We are not criminals’
MANILA, Philippines—We are not hardened criminals.
This was the statement of Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada when asked for his reaction to the prosecution’s move asking the Sandiganbayan’s nod to transfer him to a city jail.
The court ordered Estrada to be detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center after the senator surrendered for his plunder case over the pork barrel scam.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s very clear sa commitment order sa PNP Custodial Center kami dinetain (it’s very clear in the commitment order that we should be detained at the PNP Custodial Center),” Estrada told reporters after his bail motion hearing at the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday.
“In fact, bakit kami isasali sa hardened o convicted criminals? (Why should we be mixed with hardened or convicted criminals?) We’re not convicts,” Estrada added.
In their motion, the prosecutors said Estrada and alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles should be detained at a city jail under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
The prosecutors said the PNP Custodial Center is not a detention facility to hold accused on trial.
The panel decried the special treatment of the police on Estrada, citing the 25th wedding anniversary held at his detention cell and attended by family members.
Television reports even showed that lechon (roasted pigs) were carried to Estrada’s jail cell.
“The special treatment creates a negative image of the country’s court and justice system,” the prosecutors said.
Estrada said they held the anniversary because they had already invited friends over long before the arrest warrant was issued.
He added that the roasted pigs were gifts that he could not refuse.
“Sa aming mag-asawa, we considered it a milestone kapag umabot ng 25 years… We’ve already invited friends nu’ng di pa kami naissue-han ng warrant. We’re planning to hold a simple get-together sa restaurant lang,” Estrada said.
(For us husband and wife, we consider it a milestone that our marriage lasted 25 years… We’ve already invited friends when the arrest warrant was not yet issued. We were planning to hold a simple get-together in a restaurant).
“Inabutan ako ng pag-issue ng warrant, we [had] no choice but to invite close friends and relatives… ‘Yung mga lechon, mga regalo ‘yun eh. How [could] we refuse [them]?” Estrada added.
(Because the arrest warrant was issued, we had no choice but to invite close friends and relatives… Meanwhile, the roasted pigs were gifts. How could we refuse them?)
Estrada faces plunder and graft charges for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
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