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AFTER SEVERAL attempts to visit Puerto Princesa City, former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada at last landed to this city on June 27 following the invitation of his so called “Best Friend,” Mayor Edward Hagedorn.

Hagedorn admitted this invitation was related to his failed attempt to bring Estrada either during the opening or closing of Palarong Pambansa (National Sports Meet) in March and April this year.

Estrada was invited to address the opening of the sports competition but was intercepted by Malacanang. The City tried to get Erap for the closing but the palace still would not allow it.

Hagedorn said this is the reason why he made Erap this year’s special guest for the annual Pista ‘Y Ang Cagueban (Feast of the Forest) in Irawan on June 28.

Estrada said he was hoping that his visit would not be controversial anymore since the annual feast, which highlights the massive tree planting activity in the city is not a national program.

The pardoned former president also brushed off allegations that his visit was part of his early campaign for the 2010 presidential elections. He said it is only part of his Lakbay Pasasalamat (Thanksgiving Tour), in which he is visiting various Philippine provinces to show gratefulness for their undying support during hard times.

History reveals that Estrada was forced to resign from the presidency during the EDSA People Power II in 2001, in the middle of the impeachment trial against him for corruption and perjury.

Current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was then vice president, took over the presidential seat. After serving ____ years in jail, Estrada was judged guilty of plunder and _______. However, Pres. Arroyo pardoned him on _________________.

Because of the unwavering support Estrada gets from the masses, rumors that he would again run for presidency in 2010 now fill the political atmosphere.

By LOURDES ESCAROS PAET, Bandillo ng Palawan

Estrada said, “Bagaman bukas ako sa ganitong usapin, may mga dapat pa rin tayong ikonsidera”

Erap arrived with his spokesperson, Atty. Margaux Salcedo, former senator Ernesto Maceda and actor Rez Cortez.

From the airport, he went directly to the Legend Hotel, where he was billeted for three days, after which he led the motorcade along the major thoroughfares of the city. He also visited Palawan National School and the city’s baywalk in Bgy. San Isidro. He likewise distributed financial assistance to the victims of the recent market fire.

Hagedorn for Senator?

Estrada admitted he sometimes asked Hagedorn to run for a senatorial seat because of his “peculiar appeal” to the masses but Hagedorn refused.

“Ayaw niya dahil mahal niya ang mga taga Lugsod. Tatapusin umano niya ang kaniyang Termino,” Estrada said.

Hagedorn said he cannot leave the city yet as he still has one more term as mayor. When he has finished his third of his second round of terms as mayor, he would then think of running for a higher position.

“Hindi pa tayo handa sa ganyan. Mahal natin ang lungsod. Dito lang muna ako,” he concluded.


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