MANILA (Mabuhay) — Detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday said Justice Leila de Lima’s silence on the “second batch” of suspects she had earlier promised to charge over the pork barrel scam could indicate that only he and Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile are the targets for prosecution.
Estrada and the two other senators are among more than 20 persons being tried for plunder and graft for the scam, allegedly engineered by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, that saw up to P10 billion in lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund embezzled.
In the transcript of an interview he gave that was furnished to Senate reporters,
Estrada noted that after he and the two other senators were detained, De Lima had said nothing more about additional suspects in the scam.
Estrada said it seemed that, “after the three senators were jailed, they already achieved their purpose, wala nang sumunod eh. Itong si Secretary De Lima, laging sinasabi may susunod na batch. Pero (because no others followed. Secretary De Lima was always saying there would be another batch. But) now she is silent on that.”
Estrada claimed the only purpose for jailing them is to slowly kill the opposition.
“Ngayon, pinupuntirya naman nila si Vice President (Jejomar Binay). Inuubos nila talaga ang mga (Now they have sight their sights on the Vice President. They are bent on wiping out the) members of the opposition,” Estrada said, referring to the ongoing investigation initiated by administration allies in the Senate into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2, which is being pinned on Binay, who was Makati mayor during its construction.
Estrada also blasted government prosecutors, accusing them of deliberately slowing down his bid for the Sandiganbayan to grant him bail by presenting witnesses whose testimonies have “no probative value.”
“They are trying to prolong or to delay the bail hearing,” he said.
“I was urging the prosecution to present right away their star witnesses — Benhur Luy and Mrs. Ruby Tuason — for the court to determine if the evidence against me is weak or strong,” Estrada said.
Luy is the relative and former aide of Napoles who is government’s prime whistleblower in the scam. Tuason, on the other hand, admitted to being the “bag woman” for alleged payoffs by Napoles to Estrada.(MNS)