MANILA - Former Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said he was ready to face any court after a Commission on Audit report said the Philippine capital had a cash deficit of P4.3 billion under his watch.
"If there is something wrong, sue me. I'm willing to face any. I inherited a bankrupt city. I paid all the debts and was able to put up all these projects, renovate all the hospitals--free hospitals, free doctors, free medicines, free burial," Estrada said in an interview on DZMM on Tuesday afternoon.
Estrada said all records have been turned over to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
"May records naman yan. Record cannot lie. Yun ang puntahan nila. As far as I'm concerned my conscience is clear," he said.
Estrada said cleaning up the city from illegal vendors was easy. However, there are things that should be considered.
"Ilang taong na akong naging mayor--sa San Juan sa Maynila---naging presidente pa ako. Madali yan iutos pero titingnan mo rin kapakanan ng kapwa tao mo, lalo na yung mga mahihirap," he said.
[I've been mayor for years, even became a president. It's easy to order a clean-up but you have to consider how it will affect the poor.]
The former president also said bribery claims of his successor Mayor Isko Moreno was ridiculous. Moreno had said he was offered P5 million to stop his operations against illegal vendors.
"Hindi nga makagpagbayad sa city hall araw-araw nahihirapan pa mag offer pa ng milyon-milyon? Kalokohan. Wala nang mapakain sa kanilang pamilya magbibigay ng milyon-milyon? Tama na yang mga kalokohan na 'yan," he said.
[These vendors can't even pay rent every day, and yet they can offer millions? That's ridiculous.]
Despite accusations being thrown at him, Estrada still wished Moreno's success.
"Let us pray and wish him success. There's that saying once a person is elected kung walang daya talagang clean elections, the voice of the people is the voice of God. Let us help him," he said.