For now, no jail for Jinggoy

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The 5th division of the anti-graft court was expected to issue a resolution on Friday, June 20, ordering the issuance of an arrest warrant against Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. That did not happen.

By late Friday afternoon, it was apparent no arrest warrant for an expectant Estrada was coming.

The lawyer of the 51-year-old opposition senator, Alexis Abastillas, said Friday that if an arrest warrant was issued, they would file a motion for bail. She also said they would likewise file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court questioning the finding of the Ombudsman of probable cause.

"Otherwise, no other motion yet," Abastillas said. The lawyers of Estrada, including Jose Flaminiano, were in a huddle at the residence of Estrada Friday afternoon waiting for word from the Sandiganbayan.

Watch this report below.

Headed by Justice Roland B. Jurado with Associate Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo as member, the 5th division deliberated on Estrada's case. It was not known what they had decided on, given that no resolution was issued by the court.

Interviewed on radio station DZBB, Estrada said he will be bringing his iPad with him when the arrest warrant is issued. "May games naman doon eh," he said. (It has games anyway.) 

Asked if he would spend time on social media, Estrada replied he wasn't familiar with it. "Wala akong Facebook account, wala akong Twitter." (I don't have a Facebook account. I don't have Twitter.)

In a separate interview on DZRH, he said he intends to spend the weekend with his family. "Kailangang-kailangan natin iyan. Basta ang pamilya ko lagi nasa likod ko, sumusuporta sa akin, lumalakas ang aking loob." (We badly need that. When my family is behind me, supporting me, that lifts my spirits.)

Monday, June 23

He will wait and see how things go on Monday morning, June 23. Once the warrant is issued, it is possible Estrada would be brought to Camp Crame. There is word too that he will go to Polk Street in Greenhills and meet with his parents, the former president Joseph Estrada and former senator Loi Estrada, before proceeding to Camp Crame.

In 2001, the elder Estrada was arrested from his Polk Street residence. It was a dramatic scene that saw supporters congregating in Greenhills and protecting their idol.

Estrada's father advised him to remain strong, telling him, "lilipas din ang problema ko ngayon." (This present problem will also pass.)

Jinggoy Estrada was charged with plunder after the Office of the Ombudsman accused him of collecting P183 million (US$4.18 million) in commissions in exchange for allowing the siphoning of his Priority Development Assistance Fund to fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim Napoles. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.

Estrada also faces 11 counts of graft in connection with the country’s biggest corruption scandal in recent years. Estrada said he will prove his critics wrong by getting an acquittal.

He also said he explained to his children two weeks ago what was going to happen to him. "Bibigyan ko uli sila ng panghuling salita sa darating na Linggo." (I will give them my last words this Sunday.) "Medyo masakit at kailangan naming harapin ang kasong ito." (This is a bit painful and we need to face this case.)

Napoles, also charged with plunder, was the alleged mastermind of the scheme that diverted millions of pesos from development projects to the pockets of senators, Napoles herself, and other individuals who benefitted from the scam.

Like Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, Estrada indicated a willingness to surrender to authorities. The two senators are joined by senior lawmaker Juan Ponce Enrile, who is accused of collecting P172 million ($3.9 million) in kickbacks.

Enrile, according to Estrada, will likely be spared jailtime because of his age. Enrile is 90 years old.

Estrada said he will request that he be allowed use of a cellphone while he is detained. So long as he and the other senators are not suspended by the court, Estrada told DZRH, they can still fulfill their duties as senators of the Republic. Revilla is chair of the public services committee, Estrada head the labor committee, while Enrile is the minority leader.

The elderly senator is upbeat and is in high spirits, according to Estrada. "Mukhang sanay na si Senator Enrile eh," (It looks like Senator Enrile is used to this.)

A former San Juan mayor, Estrada had already been arrested on April 25, 2001 along with his father, after they were accused of receiving payoffs from the illegal numbers game jueteng. – with reports from Ayee Macaraig and Buena Bernal/Rappler.com