WORRIED JINGGOY SPENDS NIGHT IN DETENTION W/ERAP  

Manila, March 9, 2003  -- Less than 24 hours after leaving the hospital jail after his movie actor friends posted his P500,000 cash bail, the former San Juan mayor and son of the detained President Estrada was back in jail.

Not that the Sandiganbayan rescinded its ruling and cancelled bail or that Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada had been caught committing a misdemeanor.

But Jinggoy decided to return to and spend the night in Veterans Medical Memorial Center Friday evening, because he worried his father, who is still in jail, was all by himself.

"I worry about him, even for his safety," he told the Tribune in a telephone interview. "I keep on remembering the day of the fire and I worry."

The fire occurred sometime last year. It was Estrada's son who had noticed smoke and flames coming out of his father's cell. He tried to put out the fire, but the room was already filled with thick smoke. He then alerted the guards posted outside their detention cell.

Jinggoy said he couldn't sleep on his first night at his home, even when he was glad to be home with his family, and free, because what also worries him is his father's knee condition, which apparently has worsened.

"He can't run," he pointed out and if such accidents happen, "there won't be anyone with him."

Another worry Jinggoy had in his father being alone in his hospital jail is that the detained leader may not have the help he needs if he is in pain, or if he becomes ill, saying his father usually does not readily call a nurse from the hospital or for the guards to call for a doctor, pointing out that the older Estrada is more likely to bear the pain than disturb people.

"When I see him (grimace) I know he is in pain, or needs a bit of massage, but I also know he won't tell me he is in pain. So I just do it."

The former mayor also said while his father is now free from the worry over him in jail, Estrada continues to worry about his personal lawyer, Edward Serapio, who is still in a Camp Crame jail. "You know, Dad thinks of others first, before himself. He hopes Ed will be free soon."

Being a free man, Jinggoy left the hospital to have lunch with his family. "I will still be at the hospital to visit him," the mayor said "just to make sure."

He was granted bail by the Sandiganbayan last Thursday, with the ruling stating that the evidence against him was weak and based merely on the hearsay testimony of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson.

It was also pointed out in the bail resolution that the other four witnesses all of whom were Singson's employees failed to corroborate the testimony of Singson and were found to have no personal knowledge of his participation of Jinggoy in the plunder case involving jueteng money.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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