Erap: GMA's guilt 'clear as the morning'

Posted at 04/18/11 7:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada on Monday said his former vice-president and successor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, should face all accusations leveled against her including the alleged rigging of the 2004 presidential election. 

In an interview, Estrada said Arroyo should prove that she did not cheat in the elections to defeat Estrada's best friend, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. He noted that Arroyo admitted calling a poll commissioner to ask about election results in the 2004 polls, which came out in the so-called "Hello, Garci" wiretapping scandal. 

"Mas malinaw pa sa umaga ang mga kasalanan niya," he said. He added that Arroyo shouldn't think that the Aquino administration is being unfair to her and her family.

Estrada was ousted from office and replaced by Arroyo after the five-day "EDSA Dos" revolt in January 2001. He was convicted of plunder in September 2007 but was pardoned by Arroyo a month later. 

Erap gives out gifts on birthday

Instead of receiving them, Estrada was the one handing out gifts to poor communities on the eve of his 74th birthday.

Just like in the past decade, Estrada celebrated his day by making his rounds in Payatas in Quezon City and Baseco and Smokey Mountain areas in Manila to hand out canned goods, milk and noodles.

Estrada also visited the children at the Asociacion de Damas de Filipinas, an orphanage his late mother co-founded. Estrada was treated to song and dance numbers from the children.

The former president was also greeted with questions by the media, most of whom asked for his reaction on the return of Senator Panfilo Lacson. 

Estrada said that Lacson should face the accusations if he wants to clear his name. Lacson earlier accused Estrada of ordering the murders of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito. 

'Merci lucky for chance to defend self'

The former president said people should give President Benigno Aquino a chance to fulfill his campaign promises. Estrada said  Aquino has only been in office for about a year and that it will take some time for him to fix what Arroyo's administration left him.

Estrada also said that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez should consider herself as lucky for being given a chance to defend herself. 

He said that during his own impeachment trial, he wasn't given a fair hearing at the Congress, and prosecutors walked out on him during the trial.