Erap to attend China WWII parade
MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine president Joseph Estrada will attend China's huge military parade this week marking Japan's defeat in World War II despite the territorial tensions between Manila and Beijing, his spokesman said Monday, August 31.
However the disgraced ex-leader will attend in his capacity as mayor of Manila and not as a representative of the national government, said his media affairs chief Diego Cagahastian.
"He will be going as an invited guest. Manila is the sister city of Beijing and he is going as mayor of Manila," Cagahastian told Agence France-Presse.
Estrada, a former top movie star who was elected president in 1998 but ousted in an uprising in 2001, will leave for China on Monday and return on September 6, he added.
Government spokesmen have not said if any senior official will represent the country at the parade even though China and the Philippines were antagonists of Japan during World War II.
In recent years, tensions between the two countries have been strained over their conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea.
Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims to the sea.
Manila has been the most vocal in opposing China, publicly accusing it of "bullying" to assert its maritime claim and filing a case before an international tribunal in the Hague, challenging China's position.
Estrada, who was convicted of massive graft in 2007 but later pardoned, has taken a more conciliatory stance with China.
In a recent interview, Estrada was quoted as saying he hoped China would help in the modernization of the Philippines and that relations would soon improve.
After his pardon, Estrada was elected mayor of Manila in 2012. – Rappler.com