MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo kept her silence in the face of
former President Joseph Estrada’s voicing of a wish that she be made to pay for making Filipinos suffer during her nine-year administration. Arroyo’s spokesperson Ma. Elena Bautista-Horn said they would rather pray for good health for Estrada who celebrated his 74th birthday last Tuesday.“We continue to pray for him (Estrada) and our country this Lenten season. We wish the former president many more birthdays and a blessed Easter to all,” Bautista-Horn said. Estrada had said it was his birthday wish to see Mrs. Arroyo get punished for causing misery to so many Filipinos. He issued the statement during the celebration of his birthday in “Erap City,” a resettlement area in Taytay, Rizal for displaced San Juan residents. Arroyo said last week there was a “vacuum of leadership” in Malacañang, and that the administration was doing nothing but “demonize”
her. She accused the Aquino administration of neglecting the fuel crisis as well as the worsening unemployment and hunger incidence in the country.
Arroyo’s tirade came after a staunch House ally Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez announced preparations for a “frontal attack” on the Aquino administration. But House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman denied they were on offensive saying what they were doing was “tempered” criticism of the administration. “The poor Filipino people are suffering because of the massive
corruption that has transpired in the previous administration. She (Arroyo) has to pay for all of this, for turning almost all the
government agencies into corrupt institutions,” Estrada told reporters last Tuesday. “My birthday wish is justice for the Filipino people... her (Mrs. Arroyo) guilt is as clear as the morning,” he said. Estrada was ousted in a bloodless revolt in 2001 over allegations of corruption. The former leader, who was convicted in 2007 for plunder and immediately pardoned by Mrs. Arroyo, said his ouster was the handiwork of members of the elite, particularly some businessmen, civil society groups, and military generals.