From hospital bed, COVID-stricken Erap says he's OK, thanks public for prayers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2021 08:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 30 2021 08:25 PM

MANILA - Deposed Philippine president Joseph "Erap" Estrada on Tuesday afternoon expressed his gratitude for those who wished his speedy recovery from COVID-19, as he continued to recuperate in a hospital

In a video released by Estrada's son, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, the former chief executive, connected to what seemed to be an oxygen tank, could be seen pausing to catch his breath while addressing the public. 

The 83-year-old actor-turned-politician said he is in good condition, and told the public to be careful not to catch the virus. He was hospitalized late Sunday. 

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Video courtesy of former senator Jinggoy Estrada

"Magandang hapon, mga kababayan. Maraming salamat sa inyong mga dasal at ako ay nasa maayos na kalagayan. 'Wag kayong mag-alala, malakas ako, kayo ay mag-ingat din. Kayo ay stay healthy rin. Magandang hapon ulit," Estrada said. 

(Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for your prayers and I am in good condition. Don't worry, I am strong. Stay safe and healthy, too. Good afternoon again.) 

Jinggoy earlier in the day told ABS-CBN News that his father's oxygen level has improved to 95-98 percent, from 85 percent on Sunday night, when he was brought to hospital. 

Despite some improvement, however, he said that it was still too early to say that the former Manila mayor "is already off the hook." 

He pointed out that doctors still needed to further observe the Estrada patriarch's condition in the next 3 to 4 days.

Estrada has been out of politics since losing his reelection bid in 2019 to the now incumbent Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. 

Turning 84 next month, Estrada won the presidency in 1998 but saw his term cut in 2001 as he was ousted over corruption allegations. 

He was convicted of plunder in 2007 and sentenced to life imprisonment, but his successor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned him a month later.

The country is battling a new surge of coronavirus infections, over a year since the government imposed lockdowns to stem the virus spread. 

On Tuesday, the health department recorded 9,296 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the country's active cases to over 124,000 -- one of the highest in Southeast Asia. 

- Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

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