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7 years after ouster, Erap bares 5 conspirators

Pardoned former president Joseph Estrada said Wednesday that taipan Lucio Tan, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, former president Fidel Ramos and former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Chavit Singson had conspired to oust him in 2001. Addressing local officials of Valenzuela City and Obando, Bulacan, at the Maricopa restaurant in the city, Estrada said aside from Tan, other businessmen who conspired to oust him included the Ayala and Lopez clans, who were both involved in water businesses. Estrada recalled that three months after his assumption of the presidency, the Ayalas and Lopezes sent their representatives asking him to approve their petition for an 80 percent increase in water rates. “I gained their ire when I turned down their request. I told their representatives that I cannot approve that because when I run for president, my slogan is Erap para sa Mahirap," Estrada said. “I told them that If I approve their request the poor Filipinos might rephrase my slogan into Erap Pampahirap," Estrada said. Estrada said that he also told the representatives of the Ayalas and the Lopezes that business is a gamble. “Business is a gamble. If you lose in business, you cannot pass your losses to the people. If they win in their business, will they share it to the people?" Estrada said. Estrada said he drew the ire of Sin when he ordered an all out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao. “I was asked by Cardinal Sin to stop my all out war campaign against the MILF in Mindanao. He even sent Bishop Quevedo and Cardinal Vidal who told me that it is the duty of the president, being the father of the nation, to maintain peace and avoid bloodshed. I showed them a video clip showing a soldier being ordered by the MILF to kneel down and pray before they were beheaded. They told me that Cardinal Sin wants peace in the country," Estrada said. Estrada said he told the two priests that it was his duty as the president to protect the people. Estrada said the list of his enemies increased to four when he ordered an investigation into the anomalous P8-billion Centennial Expo in Pampanga involving Ramos. “The Senate investigated the Centennial Expo scam and I then created the Saguisag commission to find out the truth about the anomaly. The former president (Ramos) was fuming mad. This was followed my kumpadre (Tan) who has the biggest campaign donation to me," Estrada said. Estrada said immediately after Tan’s multi-billion tax case was dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA), Tan sent his representative asking him to block the elevation of the appeal of his case before the Supreme Court (SC). He said he also turned it down after studying it thoroughly. “I know how to pay debt of gratitude. I helped him [resolved] the Philippine Airlines (PAL) strike. But I have to make the most difficult decision to turn down his request. So my enemies increased to five," Estrada said. Estrada said he gained the ire of Singson when he pushed for the legalization of jueteng. He said Singson could not afford to have jueteng legalized because the governor’s own alleged jueteng operations would be affected. - GMANews.TV