Sep 082014
Detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Monday admitted that he thinks Vice President Jejomar Binay’s rating could dip, given the ongoing Senate investigation into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

“Maaapektuhan bahagya [ang ratings niya] pero alam naman ng mga tao na political persecution yun,” Estrada said during an interview after his bail hearing.

Estrada is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center on accusations that he pocketed millions in government funds by diverting his pork barrel allocations to alleged pork-scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles. He has repeatedly denied the accusation.

Estrada also linked his arrest over the pork barrel scam to political persecution.

“Parang kami, three senators were jailed, they already achieved their purpose, wala nang sumunod, eh. Itong si Secretary De Lima, laging sinasabi na may susunod na batch, pero until now, she’s silent on that. Ngayon pinupunterya naman nila si Vice President. Inuubos talaga nila ang members of the opposition,” Estrada said.

A plunder and graft complaint had been filed against Binay and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, over the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II. The younger Binay was a city councilor in 2007.

The Senate, meanwhile, is conducting its own inquiry into the allegedly overpriced 11-story Makati building. The building has a total floor area of 31,928 square meters and has five parking floors, five office floors and a basement.

The investigation was launched after Renato Bondal, the younger Binay’s opponent in the 2013 mayoralty race, alleged that the building was overpriced by over P1 billion.,

Suspension a decision of one?

Meanwhile, Estrada also spoke against his suspension, which was finalized by the Senate last week. The senator questioned why his colleagues did not tackle the matter in the plenary.

“Ngayon, sinuspinde ako ng senado, by the Senate President himself. I was questioning why and how the senate suspended me. Kasi in my own humble opinion as a non-lawyer, the Senate President should have forwarded the decision to the plenary,” Estrada said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon is a know administration ally.

But for Estrada, despite being Senate President, Drilon should not have decided on his suspension on his own.

“Dapat yung mga senators, yung mga peers ko ang magde-determine kung karapat dapat ba ako doon, hindi yung Senate President. Kasi as I have said in the past, the Senate President is not the Senate. Ang ginawa niya, he decided unilaterally, di niya dinaan sa plenaryo,” he said. — DVM, GMA News

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