MANILA (Mabuhay) — Despite almost two months of being detained, Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday said he still thinks of his constituents everyday, even filing bills from within prison.
“I’m still filing bills. Yung staff ko pumupunta sa Crame, then I sign the bills. Marami na akong pinipirmahan,” Estrada said in a chance interview during a break in his bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan.
Estrada is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, on allegations that he pocketed millions in government funds by supposedly diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to bogus non-government organizations associated with alleged pork scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
While in prison, Esrrada said he has a new found appreciation of the problems of the country’s criminal justice system, adding that he has filed bills to decongest prisons.
“[Isa sa mga na file ko yung] pag improve ng mga kulangan sa buong bansa,” he said.
Estrada noted the inhumane conditions that detained Filipinos have to endure, including cramped cells and a lack if access to ba is toilet facilities.
“Finile ko ‘to habang nasa loob. Nakakaaawa naman talaga yung mga ibang akusado, at yung ibang nasa loob ng kulangan. Sa isa atang selda, 138 na tao, tapos isa lang banyo. I think that is inhuman,” he said.
Meanwhile, Estrada who heads theSenate labor committee, said that he also wants to conduct committee hearings even while detained, if the court will allow him, adding that he is bored in jail.
“Naiinip na ako, sobrang inip. I wanted to conduct a committee hearing sa labor committee sana. habang wala pa yung suspension sa Senate. But of course, I have to ask permission from the court,” he said.
On July 18, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ordered the suspension of Estrada for 90 days in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam.
But the Senate has yet to implement the suspension orders against Estrada and his two co-accused colleagues – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. – since the decision of the anti-graft court is not yet final. (MNS)