MANILA (UPDATE2) - Former Philippine President Joseph "Erap" Estrada was discharged from the hospital Monday after a nearly 1-month bout with COVID-19.
Estrada, who turned 84 last April 19 while in confinement, was released shortly before 5 p.m., with his son, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, wheeling him out.
In a shot video message minutes before leaving the hospital, Estrada conveyed his gratitude to those who prayed for his immediate recovery.
“Hindi ko po mabigkas ang aking nararamdaman... Nararapat kong ipaabot sa inyo ang aking taos-pusong pasasalamat sa inyong pagdasal sa aking kalagayan. Salamat. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat,” the former president said.
"Our family is overjoyed to announce that our father will finally be discharged from the hospital today," the Estrada family said in a statement earlier in the day.
"We would like to express our gratitude to his doctors for their expertise and care."
Estrada was admitted to the hospital late last month after testing positive for COVID-19. He was brought to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to bacterial infection in the lungs.
He tested negative for COVID-19 two weeks later.
The younger Estrada had earlier said he would impose strict rules on his father's visitors once the latter is out of the hospital, for their protection against the virus.
A former actor, Estrada became president from 1998 until 2001. He did not finish his 6-year term after a bloodless revolt in 2001 ousted him following accusations of corruption.
He was last in public service as Manila City mayor from 2013 until 2019.
On Monday, the Philippines' total COVID-19 cases breached the 1 million mark, of which, 74,623 are active infections. The country logged its first case of the disease on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where COVID-19 is believed to have first emerged.
- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News