GMA  TO  CELEBRATE  EDSA  COMMEMORATION  WITHOUT  FANFARE

MANILA, February 13, 2006 (STAR) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will celebrate the of the 20th anniversary of EDSA People Power 1 but without the fanfare, said Malacañang Monday.

In a statement, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said, "President Arroyo has chosen to commemorate this special occasion quietly, without fanfare, by going to the people, looking after their needs and hearing their views."

"She will, however, be present at some of the activities planned by the commemorative committee," Bunye said.

Likewise, he said, "The celebration of the first Edsa People Power Revolution lives on in the people’s hearts and in the resilient spirit of the Filipino."

Earlier, former president Fidel Ramos branded as "deplorable" the lack of tangible preparations for the event, which is two weeks away.

No compromise on the law with Estrada, promises Palace 02/13 1:53:42 PM

No compromise.

This was the promise made by Malacañang on the matter of former President Joseph Estrada Monday in reaction to reports that the Palace had offered temporary freedom to the deposed leader.

Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said, "We would like to have unity and reconciliation but we leave the disposition of this issue to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan."

"We will never compromise on the rule of law and the public interest," Bunye declared.

Reports indicate that the offer came from Presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor. The Estrada camp has denied receiving the offer.

Estrada is currently facing plunder and graft charges at the Sandiganbayan special division court and has been detained in his resthouse in Tanay, Rizal since 2004.

The deposed leader, ousted by a military-backed popular uprising and replaced by President Gloria Arroyo in 2001, has said he was a victim of a power grab.

Palace is hands off on Estrada case, says official 02/13 3:43:12 PM

Malacañang said Monday it is leaving the disposition of the case of former President Joseph Estrada to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

In a radio interview, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Malacanang would not interfere in the judicial process involving the former president.

"The former President’s case is already in the judicial mill. Let’s allow the justice system to take its course," he said in the vernacular.

Malacañang will not dip its hands in the Estrada case and try to influence its outcome one way or the other, Ermita said.

"Let us allow the judicial process to take its course so that the President (Arroyo) and the executive branch will not be blamed," he said.

Earlier, press secretary Ignacio Bunye said, "We will never compromise on the rule of law and the public interest."

Reports indicate that the offer came from Presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor. The Estrada camp has denied receiving the offer.

Estrada is currently facing plunder and graft charges at the Sandiganbayan special division court and has been detained in his resthouse in Tanay, Rizal since 2004.

The deposed leader, ousted by a military-backed popular uprising and replaced by President Gloria Arroyo in 2001, has said he was a victim of a power grab.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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