BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Crowd-drawer former President Joseph Estrada had a clear message to his supporters at the United Nationalist Alliance rally at the Baguio Convention Center on Sunday–that he was wrongly accused of plunder for which he spent more than six years in prison.
A video presentation showing the late President Corazon Aquino apologizing to Estrada for Edsa II was played twice before he spoke to the audience.
“Ako ay walang kasalanan. Hindi po ako nagnakaw ni isang kusing,” he told the audience which roared back in agreement.
“I have forgiven all of them. Some of them there are still asking for my forgiveness. I just told them, just don’t do it again,” he said in Filipino.
He continued to recount the events leading to his ouster, recalling that he was asked to step down from office twice–offers which he turned down, Estrada claimed.
“Even if you imprison me, I will not step down. So they imprisoned me,” he said in jest.
The UNA leader maintained that he did not regret spending six years and six months in jail, saying that his experience was similar to the likes of the late senator Ninoy Aquino, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
“We are ex-convicts. We are men of conviction,” he told his supporters.
He endorsed six of UNA’s candidates Senator Gregorio Honasan, Zambales Representative Milagros Magsaysay, Nancy Binay, his son San Juan Representative Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada and former senators Ernesto Maceda and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
UNA also launched on the same day its sign language support for the deaf community during its sorties.
A sign language interpreter was seen working at the sidelines of the rally for the hearing-impaired individuals.