From Erap’s Playbook


Jinggoy is no stranger to controversy. More than a decade ago, he and his father were jailed for participating in the Jueteng scandal exposed by whistleblower Chavit Singson. He was later released on bail by the Sandiganbayan and acquitted. His father Joseph Erap Estrada however was not so lucky. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, although later pardoned by the woman who deposed and prosecuted him, Mrs Arroyo.

The fact that Mr Estrada today enjoys his freedom and greater popularity than Mrs Arroyo is nothing short of a stunning turn of events. It should be recalled that in the lead up to his impeachment, Erap’s popularity was plummeting. He had always denied any involvement in the Jueteng scandal, maintained his innocence throughout the judicial proceedings, refused to recognise the legitimacy of the trial and its verdict, and likened his predicament to that of many famous dissidents like Ninoy Aquino and Nelson Mandela.

In 2010, the rehabilitation of the Estradas was complete as Erap overtook Manny Villar to claim second spot after Noynoy Aquino in the presidential derby. His ability to knock off Alfredo Lim in 2013 to become Manila mayor is testament to the success of his strategy to regain the people’s trust despite having been convicted of a high crime by claiming himself a victim of political persecution by someone he presented as a usurper of his office. The fact that Mrs Arroyo damaged her own credibility by subsequent events fed into this narrative.

But now his son, who has been tagged by whistleblowers to be a principal in the Janet Napoles P10 billion pork barrel scam, is seeking to lift a page from the father’s playbook. In a privilege speech before the Senate, the younger Estrada claimed he was a victim of trial by publicity, of political persecution and of demonisation by his colleagues. He decried the fact that despite the COA’s identification of anomalous transactions by his colleagues, he and two other opposition bloc senators have been singled out by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigations.

In an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of proceedings at the senate, he accused its president Sen Franklin Drilon of offering a gratuitous amount of P50 million to reward him and his colleagues for voting to convict Chief Justice Corona with the imprimatur of Budget Secretary Butch Abad. After accusing his fellow senators of dragging his name through the mud, he then proceeded to name a number of them as well and question why the spotlight hasn’t been focused on them.

There are several reason why this ploy by Jinggoy may not work effectively against the current administration as it did against its predecessor. One is the fact that President Aquino enjoys the public’s trust and confidence, maintaining his net satisfaction rating at high levels three years into his presidency, something unheard of since data has been collected on this. Two is the fact that Jinggoy has not denied receiving and using his PDAF allotments. Third is the unpopularity of pork barrel, in the light of the ostentatious display of wealth by one of its fixers Ms Janet Napoles.

Doy Santos aka The Cusp

Doy Santos is an international development consultant who shuttles between Australia and the Philippines. He maintains a blog called The Cusp: A discussion of new thinking, new schools of thought and fresh ideas on public policy ( and tweets as @thecusponline. He holds a Master in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines and an MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Joe America ,

    I think Jinggoy would make a good vice president under President Binay.

    What is Binay’s take on the pork and Ampalaya fund scams, I wonder. I haven’t read anything and I can’t google it because google is a pawn of the vile NSA spy agency. They might get into my computer and steal my photos of Megan Young. Maybe Binay is sipping tuba under a mango tree with his classmate and phone-pal Nur Misuari.

    • manurlbuencamino ,

      Fourth, Jinggoy cannot hide under his father’s coat tails on this issue.

      • andrew lim ,


        Jinggoy will be indicted for plunder, which is well documented. Remember it was JPE who was Senate President at that time, so this came with his full knowledge and so most likely he is the one coaching Estrada to come out with this.

        What was the P50M given to the Senators three months after Corona’s conviction? The PDAF was suspended during Corona’s trial ; this was additional PDAF.

        Was it improper? Definitely. Which is why we want to abolish the pork barrel.

        Was it illegal? No.

        Was it a reward for convicting Corona? You can certainly interpret it that way.

        Did it go to the Senator’s pockets, like what Jinggoy allegedly did with his PDAF coursed through Napoles? No.

        One can argue that the administration used a questionable method to support a worthy goal: that of ousting a Chief Justice who was a midnight appointee and would have served as a rear guard against the effort to seek justice for the crimes of the Arroyo administration.

        Jinggoy and Enrile wanted to create an atmosphere of confusion and they got one. They attacked, instead of being defensive all the time.

        Do not lose track of the ball. It is Jinggoy who will stand trial with Napoles for plunder, no matter how much he squirms in public.

        The smart Filipino can discern these distinctions.