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Another Philippine senator charged with plunder surrenders

By Teresa Cerojano

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:42 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2014

MANILA, Philippines >> A Philippine senator, the son of an ex-president, surrendered to police Monday after a court ordered his arrest on corruption charges, the second celebrity politician in days to end up in jail allegedly for plundering this poor Southeast Asian nation's coffers.

Jinggoy Estrada was one of three senators indicted earlier this month on charges of receiving huge kickbacks from government development and anti-poverty funds. He arrived at the main police headquarters accompanied by his family, parents and supporters after the Sandiganbayan special anti-graft court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Trailed by a mob of journalists, photographers and TV cameramen, Estrada first went to the house of his father, former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. His young daughter wiped away tears, hugging her teary-eyed father as they left their upscale suburban Quezon City home.

Estrada denied any wrongdoing and expressed confidence that he will be acquitted, and his lawyer, Alexis Abastillas, said she will ask the court to grant the senator bail, which is normally not given in such cases.

"This is the last day of my freedom," he told reporters before surrendering. "I will fight for this case to my last breath."

Estrada, a former movie actor, was charged with plunder along with his father in 2001, but was acquitted. His father, a hugely popular action movie actor, was convicted of plunder but was pardoned and won last year's mayoral election in the Philippine capital, Manila. The senior Estrada was president from 1998 to 2001.

Sen. Estrada has been accused of receiving $4.2 million in kickbacks in an alleged scam involving the diversion of millions of dollars from anti-poverty and development funds allotted to lawmakers for their pet projects.

Corruption has plagued this poor Southeast Asian nation of 97 million for decades, fostered by a culture of impunity by powerful politicians and their allies, weak law enforcement and a slow justice system.

Since President Benigno Aquino III was elected in 2010 on a reformist pledge, his predecessor has been detained on vote-rigging charges and the Supreme Court chief justice impeached for the first time for not disclosing $2.4 million in his bank accounts.

Another lawmaker, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. surrendered Friday after the anti-graft court issued an arrest warrant. Revilla is accused of receiving $5.1 million in kickbacks.

A third senator, Juan Ponce Enrile, has also been charged with economic plunder for allegedly receiving $3.94 million in kickbacks, but an arrest warrant has not been issued yet for the 90-year-old former senate president and martial-law era defense secretary.

Enrile, a wealthy businessman, was defense minister when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972. He was implicated in several coup attempts against Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.


Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Nothing new here folks, move along.
on June 23,2014 | 02:05AM
MWF3 wrote:
on June 23,2014 | 05:27AM
Ronin006 wrote:
You can change the last word to Hawaii and you will be spot-on.
on June 23,2014 | 05:32PM
soundofreason wrote:
"Jinggoy Estrada was one of three senators indicted earlier this month on charges of receiving huge kickbacks from government development and anti-poverty funds.">>>> Hey, didn't our officials just set up the same..............nevermind.
on June 23,2014 | 06:28AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Nestor Garcia and Romy Cachola would feel right at home there.
on June 23,2014 | 06:55AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I keep forgetting Rida Cabanilla. Must be all those pakalolo brownies she gave me.
on June 23,2014 | 06:56AM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
bfd......it will take at least two years for these guys to go to trial. By that time NoyNoy is gone and the new president pardons Gloria and the rest of these slime balls. It will be business as usual in the Philippines. The Pinoys keep electing actors and other crooks. They get what they deserve.
on June 23,2014 | 07:28AM
Mythman wrote:
Corruption fostered by a culture of impunity by powerful politicians and their allies, weak law enforcement and a slow justice system.
on June 23,2014 | 07:36AM
soundofreason wrote:
Sounding familiar?
on June 23,2014 | 07:44AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Plunder? He doesn't dress like a pirate...
on June 23,2014 | 08:09AM
MariaBetty wrote:
Democracy in the Philippines is modeled after the USA. It's funny that corruption exist in both but its more obvious in their government for the economic disparity between rich and poor is apparent which if the rich get richer trend continues we too will be like the Philippines.
on June 23,2014 | 09:45AM
false wrote:
Ai sus, I thought the article was about our pinoy reps.
on June 23,2014 | 10:42AM
islandsun wrote:
Send them over here, they will fit right in.
on June 23,2014 | 11:38AM
hikine wrote:
People with money controls the country! Politicians likes to help themselves first and anything left over are given to the people which is rare. This is where the classic the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.
on June 24,2014 | 04:02AM
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