Will Jinggoy run for Senate? ‘Not sure, but I’m going around town’

MANILA, Philippines – Plunder defendant Jinggoy Estrada is still short of confirming whether he will run for a seat at the Senate in 2019, but he’s dropping some hints.

“I haven’t decided yet eh, pero siyempre nandun pa rin yung incllination natin to serve our people on a national level (but of course there is still the inclination to serve our people on a national level),” Estrada said on Monday, January 8, after his plunder hearing at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

While Estrada said he has yet to decide on his 2019 plans, he’s already going around town.

“I’m going around the country to thank the people for their unwavering support,” Estrada said. 

This is something that he announced he would do the minute he got out of detention on September 16 last year, after the court’s special 5th division granted him bail in the non-bailable charge of plunder for allegedly pocketing P183.793 million in kickbacks from his pork barrel.

Estrada is confident that, should he run in 2019, his plunder charges will not affect his chances.

"If you remember when i first ran in 2004, I still had an outstanding case, a pending case together with my father, a plunder case in 2004, and eventually I was acquitted," Estrada said. He was referring to the 2007 verdict of the Sandiganbayan that found his father, former President Joseph Estrada, guilty of plunder but cleared Jinggoy of the charges.

In an earlier television interview, his half-brother and sitting Senator JV Ejercito said there can only be one Estrada in the Senate in 2019.

Estrada said he hasn’t talked to Ejercito.

Despite the rift between the brothers, they overcome their differences when it comes to local politics in their home city of San Juan. In 2016, they fielded Ejercito’s mother Guia Gomez for mayor, and Estrada’s daughter Janella for vice mayor. Both won. (READ: San Juan recall petition: Zamora accuses Mayor Gomez of hiding)

Asked if he will run for mayor of San Juan, Estrada said: “No that’s not true, pure rumors.” Asked if Ejercito will run for a local seat, Estrada said he wouldn’t know. Jinggoy Estrada was a longtime mayor of San Juan before he became senator.

Estrada is in the Senate Magic 12, ranked 7-8, in surveys conducted by polling firms Social Weather Stations in December 2017 and Laylo Research Strategies in November 2017.

His brother JV is also in the Magic 12, ranked 10-12. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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