Philippines: High-Ranking Senator Arrested For Graft
Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada turned himself in today after an anti-corruption court ordered his arrest on charges of stealing more than US $4.2 million in government funds, confirmed the Office of the President of the Philippines.
The court said that it has collected sufficient evidence to charge Estrada, the son of a former president, with “plunder”, a charge for massive corruption that does not qualify for bail and that carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment..
According to Bloomberg, Estrada is the third high-profile politician in less than a week to be indicted in a scandal that involves more than 100 lawmakers embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars of government funds intended for development projects.
Three days ago, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla was arrested for stealing US $ 5.1 million and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is accused of stealing US $3.94 million and faces indictment, reports Bloomberg.
The three senators have denied the charges against them. Estrada said that the evidence against him is weak. “I will fight for this case to my last breath,” he said, according to ABC News.
Aquino, whose 2010 presidential election platform was based on fighting corruption, has been criticized for targeting certain politicians in order to protect his allies involved in the scandal. All three indicted senators belong to opposition parties. Aquino denies that accusation.