Duterte attends Erap’s birthday bash at Manila Hotel
President Rodrigo Duterte was among the high-profile guests of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on his birthday Wednesday.
Duterte attended the 80th birthday of Estrada at the Manila Hotel after being the guest of honor at the CineLokal grand launch in Pasay City. The President arrived shortly before 10 p.m.
Photos released by Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go showed Duterte seated between Estrada and former President and Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The President also shared the table with former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos and former vice president Jejomar Binay.
Other guests included former senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Juan Ponce Enrile, former Speaker Jose de Venecia and former first gentleman Mike Arroyo.
Estrada’s son, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, was also present after the Sandiganbayan allowed his attendance. The younger Estrada is detained at the custodial center in Camp Crame in Quezon City in connection with a multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Before attending the event, Duterte in his speech in Pasay City recalled how Estrada called him “low class” during the May 2016 elections.
“Si Erap naghihintay na ang buang, birthday niya ngayon eh. Sabi niya punta ka na ha,” he said.
“Ano ha? Balik kita sa kulungan!” he then joked, drawing laughter from his audience mostly composed of filmmakers, artists and the media.
Estrada was ousted in 2001 during Edsa People Power Revolution 2 after his presidency was hounded with corruption allegations. He was later detained but was pardoned in 2007 by Arroyo.
Estrada’s birthday party was not the first after Duterte became president.
On April 5, the President attended the birthday bash of Arroyo at her house in La Vista, Quezon City.
It was the first time since 2012 that Arroyo was able to celebrate her birthday outside detention after she was placed on hospital arrest for the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. In July 2016, The Supreme Court released Arroyo after it dismissed the plunder charges against her.
During the campaign period, Duterte said he wanted Arroyo freed, saying the evidence against her was weak. CBB/rga
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