MANILA (Mabuhay) — Despite his detention in connection with the graft and plunder case he is facing, Senator Jinggoy Estrada is still open to seeking higher office in 2016.
In fact, in an ambush interview on the sidelines of his bail hearing on Tuesday, Estrada said he believes he will be a free man in time for the campaign season for the next national elections.
“My options are still open,” he said. “I’m confident, wala namang kaso. Wala namang sinabi yung mga witness.”
Estrada is currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center on accusations that he pocketed millions in government funds by diverting his pork barrel allocations to bogus non-government organizations. He has repeatedly denied the accusation.
Estrada, son of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, is reportedly being groomed to be the running-mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has expressed his intention to run for president in 2016.
Binay has earlier claimed he has received information that the ruling Liberal Party was considering adopting him to be its standard bearer in 2016.
Binay, the presumptive presidential candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, described the information as “raw,” adding there had been no discussions with the LP regarding the scenario.
Estrada, however, said he feels that Binay will not abandon UNA.
“Politics ‘yan. Okay lang if he can be assured of victory, if he runs under LP. Pero I think he will still run under UNA. Yung tatlong hari yung founder ng UNA. I don’t think he will abandon that,” he said.
He was referring to Mayor Estrada, Binay and Senate Minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also accused in the alleged pork barrel scam.
Meanwhile, during a separate interview with reporters, Mayor Estrada confirmed an earlier agreement that his son will run as Binay’s running-mate.
“Yung ang napag-usapan dati, bago pa itong pork barrel scam. Pero sabi nga ni VP Binay, anything is possible naman talaga,” he said.
Mayor Estrada said if Binay runs under the LP, he might be persuaded to run as president again, noting that need to have a genuine opposition.
Mayor Estrada, who ran but lost to President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 presidential race, said at this point his focus is on the problems of Manila City. (MNS)