By Ben Rosario
LILOAN, Cebu – Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial candidate former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on Friday claimed that his expose of the multi-billion peso bribery that influenced the outcome of the impeachment of the late former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona triggered the filing of alleged trump up criminal charges that caused his detention for over four years.
On the other hand, his detention cell buddy former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla has also claimed being the victim of the Aquino government’s witchhunt of political dissenters, saying that reports that he was seeking the presidency did him in.
Revilla has been cleared of plunder charges filed by the previous administration in connection with his alleged involvement in the P10 billion pork barrel scam masterminded by detained businesswoman Janet Napoles.
ON the other hand, Estrada sees a glimmer of hope in being proven innocent of similar charges as the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted his motion for leave of court to file demurrer to the evidence.
The two, both seeking to return to the Senate, spent at least four years in detention at Camp Crame.
Both have been spending much of the ten-minute allotment for their speeches in campaign rallies in condemning their incarceration and in proclaiming their innocence to the charges filed against them.
Based on poll surveys, the two buddies remain inside the top 12 most popular senatorial candidates, apparently because of their campaign declarations and their continued celebrity, both being popular actors.
Speaking before a huge crowd during the HNP senatorial sortie here, Estrada recounted that he was investigated and criminally charged in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund expenditures shortly after he disclosed that the Aquino administration bribed senators into finding Corona guilty of impeachment charges in 2011.
“Pinasusulat lang kami at bibigyan na kami ng P50 million worth of projects, pero ang mga dilawan mas malaki ang binigay sa kanila,” Estrada revealed.
According to him the then budget secretary, presumably Secretary Florenco Abad, assured him that there are enough funds to finance his projects because this will be disbursed from the now outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program of the Aquino government.
“Galit na galit ang mga dilawan sa amin, kaya kami ginawan ng kaso, pinakulong kami,” stated Estrada. (The yellows were furious at us, that is why they filed trumped up charges then jailed us).
It will be recalled that the Senate voted to oust Corona as SC chief justice.
Senators and congressmen who received large funding from the Aquino administration were never charged although the SC later struck the DAP as unlawful and unconstitutional.(