“Assuming what he is saying is true. I think there’s nothing wrong with that. People are hungry, people have no work. He should understand that,” Estrada said.
Miguel De Guzman
Jinggoy says he gave away bangus, not cash
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Jinggoy Estrada denied yesterday the accusation by San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora that he distributed money to the city residents, saying he gave away bangus or milkfish.

“We have been giving away free bangus for the past two weeks galing sa fishpond ng mommy ko. Sa sobrang dami ng bangus, sabi ng mommy ko ipamigay na lang sa mahihirap,” Estrada said in an interview on ABS-CBN News. “What money is he talking about? Bangus lang ang ipinamigay ko, pagkain na kailangan ng mga tao.”

He lambasted Zamora for trying to stop him from helping the residents.

“Assuming what he is saying is true. I think there’s nothing wrong with that. People are hungry, people have no work. He should understand that,” Estrada said.

He said he would continue to find ways on how to help the people of San Juan even at the risk of being arrested again.

Estrada maintained that he did not violate any quarantine protocols, adding that the residents observed social distancing during the relief operations in Barangay Salapan on Sunday.

“Wala daw akong permit. Namimigay lang tayo ng bangus, bakit ako kailangan hingan ng permit,” he said.

Estrada was brought to the police station for questioning. He was released after a few hours.

Zamora: No politics

Zamora reiterated that Estrada’s arrest had nothing to do with the quarrel between their families.

“His arrest had nothing to do with politics but with law and order, especially during this time of global pandemic,” Zamora said.

The mayor maintained that Estrada violated quarantine measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.

Estrada sent video clips to reporters showing the residents ignoring physical distancing during the relief operations.

Estrada said the commotion started when people began to swarm his office when he ran out of bangus to give away.

Zamora claimed that the fish distributed by Estrada were not properly sealed or wrapped.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said those who want to conduct relief operations should make sure that health standards are followed.

Maximum tolerance

Police exercised maximum tolerance in dealing with Estrada, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said.

Instead of filing charges against Estrada, police told the former senator to coordinate first his relief operations with the local government of San Juan.

“Walang kaso na isinampa ang PNP laban sa kanya. Wala ring inaresto mula sa mga taong tumanggap ng pagkain,” Banac said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año justified the arrest of Estrada for allegedly violating lockdown protocols.

“We understand that he only wanted to help pero dapat ay ayon ito sa legal na pamamaraan under the quarantine guidelines,” Año said. 

He said if Estrada was locking horns with the mayor, he should have coordinated with the Office of the Civil Defense.

Estrada was accosted at around 4:45 p.m. on Sunday and released without charges filed against him at around 7:30 p.m. after a meeting with Eastern Police District director Brig. Gen. Johnson Almazan.

Almazan warned Estrada that a repetition of the same offense would be dealt with accordingly. – Neil Jayson Servallos, Emmanuel Tupas, Romina Cabrera, Alexis Romero

JINGGOY ESTRADA
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