|Former presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada with Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. (center) December 22, 2008
Former President Corazon Aquino on Monday publicly apologized to Joseph Ejercito Estrada for having helped remove him from the presidency during the military-backed Edsa Dos revolt in January 2001.
In remarks made at the launching of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia's book, The Global Filipino, at the Podium in Mandaluyong City, where they were both guests, Mrs. Aquino said: "I am one of those who feels guilty for the 2001 [Edsa Dos]....Lahat naman tayo nagkakamali, patawarin mo na lang ako. (We all make mistakes. Please just forgive me)."
In response to the apology, Estrada, in a press statement, said, "It was the best Christmas gift I have ever received, especially because it came from the most trusted person in the country today."
During his speech at the book launching, Estrada said "those who attended Edsa Dos now realize it was a big mistake, and it seems that this now includes
JDV (Jose de Venecia)."
He also acknowledged the moves by De Venecia to disclose alleged corrupt activities under the Arroyo administration, and encouraged him to write a sequel to his book. The book includes information about the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China's ZTE Corp. and the alleged involvement of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.
"I believe you know more," Estrada said.
Estrada and Aquino have become allies in the battle against the Arroyo administration. Public opinion polls have shown that President Arroyo is the most unpopular leader the country has had since 1986.
Estrada was found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of plunder in 2007 but was pardoned by President Arroyo. He has announced that he may seek the presidency again in 2010 if the opposition fails to unite.
Estrada has pointed out that in her order granting pardon, Arroyo restored his civil and political rights. However, government lawyers have also noted that one of the conditions was that Estrada would not run again.