Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Estrada on Palace comeback: That’s destiny

MANILA, Philippines - “I’m coming back. That’s destiny.”

Joseph Estrada, who is running for president again in the May election, made this vow in a phone interview with the Inquirer on Tuesday after returning to Malacañang almost nine years after his ouster to attend a National Security Council meeting.

The former President admitted he missed the Palace, especially the “everyday course of the presidency.”

“It’s almost nine years today since I left Malacañang. That was Jan. 21,” said the actor-turned-politician.

Estrada, 71, was forced to step down in 2001 after only two and a half years in office by a people power uprising dubbed Edsa II. He was replaced by then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He was later convicted of plunder but was promptly pardoned by Ms Arroyo in 2007.

Estrada said he felt a bit awkward while sitting in Heroes Hall during the meeting that tackled private armies and other security concerns in preparation for the elections.

“It’s something new to me because before it was GMA who used to be seated to my right. Now I was the one seated to her right,” he said in Filipino, referring to the seating protocol when he was president and Ms Arroyo was vice president.

Seated to Ms Arroyo’s left was Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and across from them were Vice President Noli De Castro and Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Rodolfo Biazon.

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