ERAP TURNS 66 CONFIDENT OF VINDICATION

Quezon City, April 19, 2003 -- Former President Estrada turns 66 today as 
he continues to languish for the second year under hospital detention but 
confident that he and his family will finally find vindication and that 
“the truth will set me free.”

Estrada, whose popularity continues even under government detention, also 
aired his hope this Holy Week that millions of poor Filipinos will soon be 
liberated from poverty.

"It has always been my birthday wish to see our poor finally attaining a 
better life," said Estrada, who won on an unprecedented 11.8 million 
majority that elected him President in 1997. His electoral mandate, was the 
largest in the country's electoral history after running on a highly 
popular pro-poor platform.

Since his election as San Juan mayor, Estrada has drawn strength from the 
millions of poor people who followed him every step of the way until they 
elected him president.
Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada will lead family and friends in today's 
simple celebration of her husband's birth anniversary in his detention 
quarters at the Veterans Memorial Hospital which will be highlighted with a 
visit by orphans early this morning.

Estrada's ailing 97-year-old mother Mary and other relatives are also 
expected to attend the birthday mass and celebration.

The Sandiganbayan Special Division granted authority for the Estrada family 
to prepare a simple birthday affair at the request of Estrada's son Jinggoy 
who is also charged, like former President Estrada, with plunder but was 
recentlygranted bail.

Estrada and his son were arrested 21 months ago, causing over a million 
protesters to go to EDSA and later to Malacañang.

With his 66th birthday falling on the eve of Easter Sunday, Estrada aired 
his optimism that the message of Jesus' rising from the dead will touch the 
lives of his countrymen.

"The message of Easter is a reminder to all of us who have suffered and who 
continue to suffer find strength in our trials and in strongly believing 
that no prayer goes unanswered, and with faith in God we are never on our 
own," Estrada said,

"Indeed, there is no Resurrection without a Calvary." (By Brenda P. Tuazon, 
Bulletin)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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