By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Former senator Jinggoy Estrada was sent home Sunday night and only given a “stern warning” after he was brought to the San Juan City police station over his alleged violation of enhanced community quarantine protocols.
San Juan Police chief Col. Jaime Santos said the former lawmaker was not charged and was only given a “stern warning” by Eastern Police District Director Brig. Gen. Johnson Almazan.
On Sunday afternoon, cops brought Estrada to the police station for his supposed violation of the quarantine protocols and failing to observe social distancing during their relief operations.
Estrada, who served as the former mayor of the city, was reportedly handing out free fish to residents of Barangay Salapan in San Juan when the cops arrived and brought him to the station.
“(Estrada was told) that he has to secure a certification of approval from the local government, and that social distancing should be strictly observed,” Santos told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
The police chief said Estrada was released at around 7:40 p.m.
Jinggoy’s daughter Janella Ejercito-Estrada questioned why they were being “singled out” over the issue of permits when there were other non-government organizations (NGOs) and private citizens conducting donations and relief operations in San Juan.
“Alam niyo po, sa dami ng nagdo-donate o nagbibigay ng mga relief mula sa mga NGOs at private citizens dito sa San Juan, kami lang po ang hinihingan ng permit,” she wrote in a text message.
(You know, with a lot of NGOs or private citizens donating or providing relief here in San Juan, we were the only ones required to have a permit.)
“Hindi naman nila hinaharang ang ibang nagdodonate. Bakit kami sini-single out?”
(They did not block other donors. Why were we being singled out?)
Janella, the city’s former vice mayor who was defeated by incumbent Mayor Francis Zamora in the midterm polls for the city’s top spot, has also denied that they were not following social distancing during their relief operations.
“We always observe social distancing dahil ayaw naman po naming may mapahamak at para rin po sa safety ng lahat,” she said.
(Because we don’t want anyone to be harmed and this is also for everyone’s safety.)
Asked if it was all politically motivated, “I don’t want to comment on that anymore,” Janella said.
“I just hope kung ‘yan man ang rason, sana sa panahon ngayon wala na munang pulitika.”
(If that was the reason, I hope that politics be set aside for now.)
According to Zamora, Estrada was unauthorized to be outside his residence during the quarantine period.
The mayor also stressed that Estrada did not coordinate with the city government before conducting the relief operations, noting that social distancing was also not followed.
“Any person who wants to conduct relief operations must secure a certification,” he said.