MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor and former President Joseph Estrada paid former political nemesis, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a visit at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on Sunday, December 22.
An ABS-CBN report said Estrada arrived at the hospital at around 2:55 pm.
Estrada was accompanied by Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Raul Lambino, former press undersecretary Ike Gutierrez, and others.
Moreno told Rappler that the atmosphere during the meeting was “very light” and “beautiful.”
“It’s very touching. It’s a different feeling when you see them talking. Every Filipino knows what happened between Erap and Arroyo. The moment is very historic,” he said.
He added that the two were very accommodating of each other, and that Estrada and Mike Arroyo were even laughing on their way out of the hospital.
Topacio also tweeted that the two former presidents chatted happily during the gathering, and that “politics and old enmities” were absent.
Inside VMMC, atmosphere is one of amity and goodwill. Erap and GMA chatting happily.— Ferdinand Topacio (@FerdieTopacio) December 22, 2013
Absent: politics and old enmities.— Ferdinand Topacio (@FerdieTopacio) December 22, 2013
Reports earlier revealed that Estrada’s camp was planning to visit Arroyo, who is in hospital arrest, “three to six days before Christmas day.”
Arroyo, former vice president to Estrada, is facing plunder charges. She’s confined due to a spine problem.
Return to Veterans
Moreno said Estrada arranged for the meeting. He said Estrada wanted to return the favor because Arroyo also visited him during his detention.
This visit marked Estrada’s return to the hospital, where he himself was detained after being ousted from the presidency in 2001.
He and his son Jinggoy alsmost spent 3 years in the hospital before they were transferred to Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna then to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.
The Sandiganbayan convicted Estrada of plunder in 2007, but he was spared from serving his sentence as he was granted pardon by Arroyo a month after.
Arroyo was among those who supported the ouster of Estrada in 2001. – with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com