Cartoon images of Ex-Presidents Joseph "Erap" Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
I never was a big fan of Joseph “Erap” Estrada – not in his acting career and more so not in his presidency.
He may have been successful as an actor, but the fact that he was booted out of the presidential palace and convicted of plunder speaks volume of what and how he was as president.
Outside of the presidency, however, Erap has turned into a new leaf. Whether it is because of advancing age or having been humbled by a shameful past, what have changed are his demeanor and his perception of things right.
Had he carried and exercise this good conduct and intelligent insights when he was president, instead of showing mediocrity, he could have moved this country forward to progress. Alas, his stint was another disastrous experience for the nation and its people.
But, that is neither here nor there now for history has spoken.
What is admirable about Erap now is that he has grown wiser. Is he a late bloomer? Well, who knows, but at any rate, I am beginning to admire him, without necessarily being a big fan.
Lately, Erap has been giving unsolicited advises to President Benigno Aquino and they all make sense. There seems to be wisdom in his pronouncements.
But, what really caught my attention and made me duff my hat to him is his advice to the embattled ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), who, ironically, took over from Erap the presidency and has not mince words in how corrupt he was, and who now finds herself in the same league with her predecessor, with the state accusing her of plunder and, worst, for electoral sabotage.
So, look who is talking now!
While the issue is being debated on whether or not GMA be allowed to seek treatment abroad for a condition which doctors says is not life threatening and which, in fact, showed progress after her post-operative consultation, Erap, on the other hand, is giving her an unsought for advice on what she ought to do.
“My unsolicited advice to her (Arroyo) is for her to face the charges first. Then when she is put behind bars, then that’s the only time she can request for medical treatment abroad,” Estrada intimated.
Aren’t those words of wisdom? Erap knows whereof he speaks because he, too, needed medical treatment for his osteoporotic knees that needed replacement.
The good thing about Erap is that he listened and knew a doctor who was so credible that when he appeared before the Sandiganbayan special division to seek permission for Erap to be allowed to undergo knee surgery in Hong Kong, it was immediately granted.
“I requested only one country and that is Hong Kong because my doctor said his equipment were all in Hong Kong. He was suggesting that I undergo medical treatment in the US, but I decided to undergo knee surgery in Hong Kong,” Erap said.
Note that when he sought medical treatment abroad there was no specialist that could handle the kind of surgery he had to have at that time.
The same could not be said, however, of Arroyo. Naming so many countries she intends to go and not mentioning any specific hospital she wants to be confined at nor knowing who the medical specialist is going to be to operate on her not only leave doubts about her true intentions but creates apprehensions, especially that she insists on traveling with an entourage of about 14 people.
According to Erap, when he left for medical treatment abroad, he only had his wife and three policemen.
So, could you blame President Aquino and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima if they are circumspect in their actions towards Arroyo, especially knowing how sly she could be?