By Mario Casayuran
Former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada is likely to seek a berth in the upcoming 2019 mid-term national elections as an administration candidate of President Duterte who is chairman of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PDP).
Or under a coalition of the PDP with the Puersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of his father, former President Joseph ‘’Erap’’ Estrada, if possible.
Young Estrada revealed this during a talk with Senate reporters of his plan for next year’s senatorial elections.
He is still on trial at the Sandiganbyaan on a case involving the ‘’pork barrel’’ (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scandal but was granted bail in September.
One of the conditions imposed by PDP on a possible coalition agreement with the PMP was for PMP bets to take their oath before the ruling party.
‘’That is one of the conditions set but inaayos pa naming kung paano (it is still being ironed out),’’ he said.
Young Estrada said the stand of his father, is that he wants Jinggoy and his estranged half-brother, Senator Joseph ‘’JV’’ Ejercito to run together for the Senate.
He brushed off criticisms that their running together might be considered as forming a ‘’political dynasty’’ against a proposed amendment by a constitutional commission created by President Duterte. The Commission was tasked to draft proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution to be submitted to the people in a plebiscite.
Young Estrada said a political dynasty is not inherited.
‘’At the end of the day, it is still the voters or the Filipino electorate who will decide on whether you’re capable of being a senator, a governor, among others,’’ he said.
He said he can work with JV but it is only JV who is saying that there should only be one Estrada who should run.
‘’Why deprive me naman of running? Baka ako yung tinutokoy niyang tatakbo di ba? Kasi Estrada ako eh. Eh di salamat,’’ he pointed out. (He may be pointing out that I am the one who should run. I am an Estrada.)
Asked if his pending plunder case might be used against him in the coming elections, Estrada flatly said ‘’wala’’ (none).
He cited his running for the Senate for the first time in 2004 where he had a pending plunder case.
‘’It has not been resolved yet and fortunately I won. So in 2004 I felt vindicated dahil hindi naman naniniwala ang taongbayan sa mga paratang mga laban sa akin,’’ he said. (because the people believe that the charges against me had no basis.)
Asked if he has hopes of the current plunder case being resolved by the Sanidganbayan before the May 2019 elections, he said ‘’at the rate we’re going in the trial, it is too slow.’’
“The prosecution has been presenting witnesses who are not personally known to me , who do not have any knowledge about the PDAF scam. The prosecution is really delaying the case for reasons that they only know,’’ he said.