Jinggoy Estrada confident Bong Revilla will be freed next
Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is confident his pal, former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., will soon be freed from jail.
“Malamang. Sigurado. My case, Revilla’s and Sen. [Juan Ponce] Enrile’s case are just the same. I don’t see any point that he won’t be released as well… I am very confident,” Estrada said in an interview with reporters at a Chinese restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan, shortly after posting bail.
Also present during the lunch were his wife Precy, daughter Janella Estrada (who is San Juan vice mayor), mother Dr. Loi Estrada, brother Jude Estrada and sister Jackie Ejercito-Lopez, supporters Sandra Cam, lawyer Stephen David (who is counsel of Janet Lim-Napoles), and actor Philip Salvador.
“I thank the Sandiganbayan Court for granting me temporarily liberty not only for me and for my family but also for my supporters,” he added.
Later, at a thanksgiving Mass at the St. John the Baptist Church he asked prayers for his friend’s release.
“If there is FPJ and Erap, there is also Bong and Jinggoy.”
FPJ stands for Fernando Poe Jr., the late actor who was a close friend of the former senator’s father, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, the former president who is now mayor of Manila.
The former senator, who joked about being jobless now, told reporters he would spend the next weeks going around the country to thank his supporters as he was denied by the Sandiganbayan to personally say goodbye to them before his last days as senator.
Asked about Sen. Leila de Lima, who remains in jail, Estrada said he had no message for her. But he added that he had already forgiven what she had done to him.
“Kung ang Diyos nga nagpapatawad eh [God himself forgives],” he said. “I have forgiven her, but I will not forget what she did to me.”
“When we were in jail, we experienced bad treatment,” he said. “Our rooms were padlocked. Visitation was not allowed. But it has gotten better later. Maybe De Lima has experienced that as well. A prisoner’s only wish is to be visited. You will get crazy if you don’t.”
The senator also had no message for former President Benigno Aquino III.
Mayor Estrada was very happy to have a dinner with his son for the first time outside his detention cell.
“We miss Jinggoy. He was [more than] three years in jail. We are grateful that the Lord has answered our prayers,” the mayor said. “I always tell this quote as a reminder to Jinggoy: In human life, failing is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. Like me, I was jailed as well… All things were done to me, and I’m still here. I am still the mayor of Manila because I never gave up.”
Father and son said they were both supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, with the younger Estrada saying he was 101 percent in support of it.
The former senator laughed when asked about the possibility of Duterte offering him any Cabinet position.
“Why not? I am willing,” he said “You know I’ve long known President Duterte. He really has a heart for the poor. He is a real person. Not plastic. Duterte is a lawyer, a former fiscal. Maybe he has read about our case, maybe he has concluded that there is nothing… that we are really persecuted but the previous administration.”
Philip Salvador, a supporter and friend of Estrada’s, told the Inquirer: “God is really good. In his time, this will happen. They should be really given due process. It now happened to Jinggoy. Hopefully this will happen to Bong as well.”
“Malaya na ang ating gwapong-gwapong senator,” Fr. Larry Faraon said during the thanksgiving mass held around 4 p.m. Saturday.
In tears, he commended the senator for his faith and his strength to overcome. Faraon had been praying and celebrating the Mass for the senator even while he was in jail.
“It was obvious the hands of the Lord are with Senator Jinggoy,” he said.
Faraon said it was the senator’s faith and the help of supporters that helped him survive and be freed from jail.
“With those, he might be the next president of the Philippines,” Faraon said.
The crowd responded with applause. The priest also encouraged the Mass goers to continually pray for the full acquittal of Revilla.
In a speech to his supporters during the mass, the former senator thanked again all his supporters, allies in the Senate, and the politicians who never gave up on him.
“Bahala na ang Panginoon sa kanila,” he said of his detractors, telling the crowd he was not guilty. /atm
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