Jinggoy Estrada told NBI: Feeding Poor Not Against the Law

Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada told the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that physical distancing was observed when he held a relief drive in San Juan City earlier this month, Estrada said on Wednesday.

Jinggoy Estrada
NBI APPEARANCE Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada says he did not violate any rule when he distributed milkfish to San Juan residents on May 3 because he was wearing a mask and carrying a quarantine pass. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Photo from Inquirer.net

Previously, Estrada submitted a written explanation of the incident to the NBI office in Manila due to the alleged violation of the enhanced community quarantine protocols.

Recalling on May 3, Estrada gave out milkfish to some residents, resulting in him being arrested by the city police but was later released without any charges.

Aside from observing physical distancing, Estrada explained that he was wearing a face mask, face shield, personal protective equipment suit, and carrying a quarantine pass.

The former Mayor of San Juan said that he had received plenty of milkfish from Zambales and decided to give these away to residents because he did not want the food to go to waste.

Lest it be misunderstood, it is not my intention to violate any law. Mine is pure and simple like other private citizens and organizations are doing—to help the poor during this pandemic. And I do not think that helping feed the starving and the poor is a violation of the law,” he added.

He also submitted photos showing his quarantine pass and of him distributing the milkfish to residents in Barangay Salapan.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had said that Estrada did not coordinate with the local government about the relief drive, which was confirmed by incumbent Mayor Francis Zamora.

Joel Tovera, chief of the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crimes said that they would review the pieces of evidence they had gathered about the incident, including Estrada’s reply, video footage of the relief drive and statements from witnesses.

“There were five witnesses who voluntarily went to our office to give their testimonies regarding the said incident last May 3,” said Tovera.

Moreover, it appeared that Estrada did not have clearance for holding a relief drive, a fact that he admitted himself before San Juan policemen.

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