Estrada provides laughs, Imeldific the songs
Former President Joseph Estrada got to dish out some of his so-called “Eraptions” while former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos sang a Visayan song and a Perry Como oldie.
As soon as he was called to speak before the VIP gathering at the Manila Hotel, Estrada launched into a spiel as though playing before a crowd in a comedy bar.
Estrada said he and his wife, former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, had reached their golden wedding anniversary because she simply refused to listen to his favorite Engelbert Humperdinck song, “Release Me.”
Then turning to Senator Santiago, Estrada said: “I’m sure you will reach that (golden anniversary) too because my kumpadre Jun doesn’t have the nerve to sing that to you.”
Estrada, one of the principal sponsors at the rites held at Manila Cathedral to mark the Santiagos’ 40th wedding anniversary, also wondered aloud why the senator had many dos and don’ts written on the invitation.
“I had to be here at 5:30 p.m. ‘for support,’” he noted, citing one of the dos. “Then in the letter, you said ‘I can’t pay you. So you and Imelda have to sing, and you should bring your own piano and pianist.’”
Surveying the crowd at the hotel’s Centennial Hall, the former President acknowledged the mix of former and incumbent government officials, setting them up for his next punch line.
“Ex-ambassadors, ex-senators, ex-Cabinet members. There are so many exes,” he said. “But among all of them, I have the most exes: I’ve been an ex-movie actor, ex-mayor, ex-senator. I’ve been an ex-Vice President, an ex-President. I’ve been an ex-detainee.”
“And lastly, I’m now an ex-convict,” said Estrada, who was convicted of plunder in September 2007 and pardoned a month later by his successor, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Mere front act
But an “ex-singer” he’s not, Estrada said, thus closing his act by singing Robert Goulet’s “Always You.”
After his song, though, Estrada said he was only serving as a “front act” for Imelda Marcos.
Also a principal sponsor at the wedding, the 81-year-old widow of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos treated the diners to Perry Como’s “I Want to Give.”
Asked to do an encore, Marcos picked the Visayan song “Malipayon Ang Takna,” again to generous applause.
Estrada’s son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, also sang a duet, “Unforgettable,” with actress Heart Evangelista, who served as maid of honor in the wedding.
The younger Estrada actually stood in for the best man, President Aquino, who attended the 6 p.m. wedding but begged off from the reception, citing another appointment.
Show of civility
“I would have wanted for the President to come and sing a duet with Heart Evangelista, and then I would have talked to him about certain urgent problems on our national agenda particularly the Spratly Islands dispute on which we already had a consultation,” Senator Santiago told reporters.
Former President and now Pampanga Representative Arroyo, another principal sponsor, stayed at the reception only up to 9 p.m. and left just before the Estrada-Marcos numbers began.
Santiago said she was just happy to see her guests, particularly political archenemies Estrada and Arroyo, “greeting each other very heartily.”
“I suspected that they will greet each other civilly. But they went beyond that. So that set the tone for this event,” she said.
The menu included seasonal salad with poached shrimp, cream of zucchini and spinach, guyabano sherbet, baked salmon, Australian beef tenderloin baked in mushroom crust, and frozen banana walnut crunch parfait.