'I hope to follow suit,' says Jinggoy Estrada after Revilla acquittal

MANILA, Philippines – After his co-accused in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam and fellow former actor Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr was acquitted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan, Senator Jinggoy Estrada said he's now more optimistic about his own case.

Estrada shared this to reporters outside the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center on Friday, December 7, right after he paid a visit to Revilla, who was just waiting for his release order with his family and staff in the detention facility.

Sa ngayon (Now), Senator Bong has been vindicated. I hope to follow suit,” Estrada said on Friday, December 7.

The anti-graft court's special first division ruled via majority vote that Revilla is not guilty of earning P224.5 million worth of kickbacks through the pork barrel scam. Revilla's former staff Richard Cambe and alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles were found guilty of plunder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of at least 20 years.

Former senator Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla's co-accused in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, arrives in Camp Crame. Estrada was released from detention in the same facility just a year and two months ago after he was allowed to post bail. pic.twitter.com/qb7wY2cQpk — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) December 7, 2018

Estrada remains accused of plunder and graft involving at least P183 million in alleged pork kickbacks. The senatorial bet said he expects the Sandiganbayan to also rule in his favor.

From being fellow detainees inside Camp Crame, Estrada said that he hopes to campaign side-by-side with Revilla in 2019. 

Both of them are gunning for a seat at the Senate, along with their fellow pork barrel scam co-accused Juan Ponce Enrile. (READ: 3 ex-senators charged in pork barrel scam running in 2019)

Estrada's Senate run will be more difficult than his last one because, aside from the fact that he's still in jail, he will also be fighting with his half-brother, Senator JV Ejercito, over the Estrada family's political base. Ejercito is seeking reelection.

Both are sons of former president Joseph Estrada, who was ousted over corruption in 2001.

As of posting time, Revilla was still in Camp Crame waiting for his release order.

After the order is issued, he will undergo clearance procedures, which primarily involves a medical examination to see whether he remains in good health after 4 years in detention. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.