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PDAF triumvirate! Jinggoy, JPE and Bong eye Senate comeback in 2019

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Three former senators implicated in the multi-billion pork barrel scam are all seeking a Senate comeback in next year’s midterm elections.

On Tuesday, former Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada filed his certificate of candidacy for senator. Estrada was accompanied by his wife Precy and his parents, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito.

The former senator said his pending plunder charges would not affect his campaign since he had a similar situation backed in the 2004 elections, in which, he and his father are being tried then for a same violation in connection with their alleged corruption activities during the Estrada Presidency.

“I have also a pending plunder case in 2004. Despite that I was able to win that elections,” said Estrada.

Estrada was acquitted in 2007 while his father convicted by the Sandiganbayan.

In 2014, Estrada was charged again with plunder at the anti-graft court’s fifth division, this time after allegedly earning kickbacks from his pork barrel funds.

The former senator was accused of amassing wealth through commissions and kickbacks by channeling his Priority Development Assistance Funds to the fake non-government organizations (NGOs) of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged Pork scam mastermind.

Estrada’s other co-accused in the case, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former Senator Bong Revilla, are also vying for Senate seats next year.

Enrile’s lawyer Joseph Sagandoy filed the former Senate leader’s COC around 3 p.m. of Tuesday. Despite being a member of Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Sagandoy said Enrile will run as an independent senatorial bet.

The former Senate President allegedly channeled P172.8 million from his PDAF allocations between 2004 to 2010 in some of Napoles’ NGOs.

Estrada and Enrile are currently both out of detention after being allowed to post respective bails.

Meanwhile, Revilla’s wife, Bacoor City Rep. Lani Mercado will file his COC at the COMELEC main office around 8 a.m. of Wednesday.

Revilla, chairman of the once powerful Lakas Christian-Muslims Democrats (Lakas CMD) allegedly pocketed P224-million worth from his PDAF allocations after also channeling to the agencies of Napoles.

Estrada, Enrile, and Revilla were members of the Macho bloc in the Senate together with current Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, and Loren Legarda.