Erap recalls 'depressing' experience at Fort Sto. Domingo

by Jose Rodel Clapano, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 01 2013 11:08 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2013 09:21 PM

MANILA - The first three months there had been the most depressing experience of my life.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada shared this yesterday, describing his three months of detention in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna shortly after his arrest on charges of plunder before the Sandiganbayan.

Estrada, who was ousted from the presidency in 2001, said he felt the whole world dropped on him for having been denied almost every amenity while in detention at Fort Sto. Domingo.

“It’s very far. Even the food is subjected to thorough checking. My detention cell is also surrounded with barbed wire. There was also no curtain, there was no air conditioning, cellphones were not allowed. The restrictions are very much depressing,” Estrada said.

The former president considered his detention in Fort Sto. Domingo as the “darkest period” of his life.

Fort Sto. Domingo is the training ground of the elite police Special Action Force. This is where Estrada and former Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari were detained.

Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, at the center of controversy over the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam, was ordered by the court to be detained in the facility.

“I’ve been a movie superstar, mayor, senator, vice president until I became president. I’ve been there for three months. I suffered from mental torture. I cannot easily see my children, my wife, my grandchildren while my mother is still in the hospital then. I was really very depressed,” Estrada said.

Estrada said his only consolation during his months in detention was he learned to pray alone.

“There was solemnity. I even asked the Lord during my prayers why it happened to me and why I was subjected to such an ordeal. I told him that soon I will be vindicated,” Estrada said.