Estrada defends lot sale to Napoles: It was a legit deal

It was a legitimate transaction.

Thus did Sen. Jinggoy Estrada defend his sale of a prime property in the Cubao commercial district to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

"There's nothing wrong with it," Estrada told reporters in reaction to press reports of the sale of the property, located at the corner of Edsa and P. Tuason in Cubao, to the detained Napoles.

"I told my wife we no longer had money. I said we have to sell the property," he said.

Estrada, one of three senators facing a plunder complaint after being implicated in the P10-billion (S$287 million) pork barrel scam, said the sale was made two years ago but wouldn't say how much he sold the property for.

He said Napoles' son, James, signed the deed of sale as the buyer and also paid the capital gains tax.

"What's wrong with that? I'm being depicted as guilty by association," Estrada said.

The senator said he bought the property when he was still a mayor of San Juan. He was San Juan mayor from 1992 to 2001.

Estrada has admitted knowing Napoles but denied having any transactions with her involving his pork barrel, or Priority Development Assistance Fund, entitlements.

Estrada and Napoles are now facing plunder charges for the alleged misuse of millions of pesos in pork barrel funds that had been intended for livelihood projects.