Cayetano using ‘pork’ to advance 2016 presidential bid – Jinggoy
Manila, Philippines — Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada accused yesterday some of his colleagues, particularly Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano, of using the P10-billion pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam to advance their personal agenda or political ambitions.
Estrada fired the salvo in a privilege speech to defend himself against whistleblowers whose testimonies supposedly tightened the plunder case filed against him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
“The senator, who announced his intention to run for president, is using the Blue Ribbon Committee for his political agenda,” Estrada said in his privilege speech, clearly referring to Cayetano.
Estrada cited the proposal of Cayetano for the Supreme Court to create a special court that would try daily the pork barrel case. The plunder trial case against the three senators is still with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Trial By Publicity
He said that among others, some of his colleagues are into media publicly and complained that they are being tried by publicity.
Estrada also maintained that Technology Resource Center Director-on-leave Dennis Cunanan and Ruby Tuason, the provisional state witnesses of the Department of Justice (DOJ), are perjured witnesses.
“The career of Mr. Cunanan from his days in college to his days in public office, and reaching up to his testimony in the Blue Ribbon Committee has been founded and grounded on falsehoods and misrepresentation!” declared Estrada, in an apparent move to discredit him.
Cayetano immediately counterattacked by saying Estrada should not adopt a double standard of justice after citing how the senator from San Juan had verbally pummeled resource persons in committee hearings, including the late Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Angelo Reyes, on the AFP financial scam.
He maintained that he was only performing his duty as a senator who wanted to ask questions because people want to know how government officials safeguard public funds.
This Is Not About 2016 – Cayetano
“This is not about Senator Jinggoy. This is not about Senator Alan. This is not about 2016. This is about the people’s money. Iyon hong institusyon ho natin ay nadudurog dahil ang tingin nila, kung sino pa ang dapat nagbabantay sa kaban ng bayan ay sila pa ang nagbantay-salakay,” Cayetano said on the Senate floor.
He said that he, like Estrada, wants an early resolution of the pork barrel case compared to longer periods of trial that might take place in the Sandiganbayan.
Cayetano cited the creation by former President Gloria Arroyo of a special court that tried the plunder case of former President Joseph Estrada and several others, including the young Estrada himself. After close to six years of trial, the former President was convicted of plunder involving P4.2 billion but young Estrada was acquitted.
Estrada cited the recent statement attributed to Cayetano that he intends to run for the 2016 presidential elections.
Earlier, Sen. Cynthia Villar, a Nacionalista Party (NP) member, told Senate reporters that Cayetano was reported to have expressed intention to seek the presidency under a proposed coalition of the NP and the Liberal Party (LP) whose honorary president is President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Both Estrada and Cayetano later shook hands.
Enrile Gives Side
After the close of the verbal clash between Estrada and Cayetano, Enrile took the floor to tell his colleagues that he has submitted his counter-affidavit giving his side to the pork barrel scam to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee as requested by its chairman Sen. Teofisto L. Guingona III.
Estrada also said he is demanding answers why the Department of Justice (DOJ ) is giving Tuason special treatment by allowing her to leave for the United States.
“Is there a special arrangement to pin him down along with Enrile and Revilla? he asked.
He also chided DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima for not checking carefully the backgrounds of Tuason and Cunanan.
He accused Cunanan of deliberately lying to the Guingona committee, citing Luy’s testimony that he (Luy) saw Cunanan leaving the conference room of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles with a brown bag containing P960,000.
Meanwhile, the Senate Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) said Tuason visited the Senate at least three times between November and December, 2008.
But OSAA Chief Jose Balajadia Jr. said that based on the CCTV review he was positive he only saw Tuason carrying a ladies bag and not duffel bags or trays of food. (With a report from Ellson A. Quismorio)