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'Guilty' Cory says sorry to Estrada for EDSA 2 revolt

December 22, 2008 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Corazon Aquino on Monday apologized to former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada for helping oust him in January 2001.

Aquino, who was one of the rally leaders at the height of the so-called EDSA 2 revolt, issued the apology to the ousted president during a book launching event.

"Mr. Estrada ang galing mo talaga magtalumpati. Lahat tayo nagkakamali, patawarin mo na lang ako," she told the crowd during the launching of the “Global Filipino" book of former Speaker Jose de Venecia, which was an authorized biography written by US journalist Brett Decker.

“I am one of those who plead guilty for the 2001 uprising. Lahat naman tayo ay nagkakamali. Patawarin mo na lang ako," Aquino said in a television footage of the event.

Aquino, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and a majority of Estrada’s cabinet men who deserted him and civil society were instrumental in his ouster.

The book-launching was attended by numerous political celebrities which also included former President Fidel Ramos.

Estrada, in his speech, recalled the time where he was “unceremoniously unseated" as President, saying that a group of elite businessmen and several “power-hungry" politicians succeeded in toppling him.

In Sept. 2007, the special division of the Sandiganbayan – two female justices of whom have been promoted to the Supreme Court – found Estrada guilty of plunder, a conviction that was largely based on bank documents and the testimony of his estranged buddy former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit" Singson.

A month later, however, President Arroyo granted him pardon. Estrada had been under house arrest since June 2001, when the charges were filed at the anti-graft court. He was under detention at his 15-hectare resort in Tanay, Rizal.

For his part, Estrada said that the Aquino apology vindicated him and that it was the greatest Christmas gift that he received this year.

“That was the best Christmas gift that I received this year, coming from the most trusted President of the country. I feel vindicated," Estrada said.

Aquino also lauded De Venecia for finally revealing all that he knows about the massive corruption in the Arroyo government.

She said De Venecia was very lucky because he has Gina as a wife.

“I could not say no to Gina when she asked me to come. You know, Joe, you are very lucky because of Gina... Gina works all the time with you. I am here because I want to show to Joe my thanks that he is now joining us," Aquino said.

Aquino also said the Filipino people should unite to save the country and bring it to progress.

“We must unite so that we will have leaders who will truly serve the people's interest," Aquino said.

Estrada said that he read De Venecia's book from cover to cover.

He said he salutes De Venecia for finally revealing what he knows.

“Let this not only be a best seller, but let this have Part 2 because I always believed that JDV know many things about this administration and he has much stories to tell. I was with you with your proposed moral recovery. You an I can still make a difference because we are both man of conviction. The only difference between us is that I became a man of conviction because I was convicted," Estrada said. - GMANews.TV
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