POSTSCRIPT / February 13, 2001 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Poll: Not eye treatment, but a grand escape plan

ONLY 3.7 percent of readers who responded to the Postscript survey last Sunday took the word of deposed President Joseph Ejercito Estrada that he wanted to go abroad for treatment of his glaucoma.

Most respondents (31.4 percent) said the deposed President just wanted to escape charges of plunder and other serious crimes being investigated by the Ombudsman and expected to be filed with the Sandiganbayan.

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THE question asked Postscript readers was: “What do you think is the real reason for Erap’s wanting to go abroad?” They were asked to pick one of seven possible answers, and their choices (in percentage) were:

  1. To have his eyes treated (3.7% of respondents).
  2. To see one or some of his mistresses (12.9%).
  3. To deposit, withdraw or transfer money (3.7%).
  4. To escape charges with Sandiganbayan (31.4%).
  5. He has a deal with President Arroyo (5.5%).
  6. All of the above (24%).
  7. There are other reasons (18.5%).

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AS in previous surveys, a great number of respondents were readers abroad (51 percent of early responses this time) who accessed the PhilSTAR online edition as early as midnight (RP time) or several hours before the paper hit the streets in Manila.

Male readers dominated (72 percent) the responses. Either more men than women read us, or men are more disposed or more able to participate in the type of surveys we conduct.

Most readers did not bother to indicate their ages, so we decided not to tally the skimpy information on readers’ ages.

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THESE were some of the earlier responses (edited to fit):

Rodolfo Fermin, Denver, Colorado: Glaucoma is not life-threatening. The treatment/operation, if really necessary, could be scheduled after the decision is handed down on the charges. What for did we issue a hold-departure order against him if we’re going to let him go by his mere say-so that he needs treatment?

H.C. Cruz, New Jersey: Erap does not have a serious eye ailment. It’s a simple case of eye fatigue. He has to count 3 billion pesos. He will briefly consult with eye doctors, but he will actually shop for the best and fastest washing machine. Remember he is in the money laundering business.

Ompong Santos, worldnet: The main reason why Erap wants to go next month is “dahil ayaw mahingian ng pera sa darating na eleskyon. Mahina na ang kita plus may mga problema sa withdrawal sa bangko, siyempre mas maganda sa kanya kung wala siya sa Manila during the election. I don’t believe Erap can be convicted in the courts. Bad precedent ‘yan. Tipong hindi papayag sila GMA na ma-convict dahil kahit sila ay delikado, tiyak namang magnanakaw din ang mag-asawang ‘yan.

EdnTessLopez, Germantown, Maryland: He’s trying to pull a “Great Escape Ever.” We cannot let that happen. He needs to stay and face the music. His jail cell is an appropriate place for him to get his eye treated.

Del Burgos, San Jose, CA: All of the above. Joseph Estrada, who was a movie actor, cannot accept that the “bida” will go to jail, and may even get the death sentence.

Nelia Mirasol, Borongan, Eastern Samar: Erap should stay put here to face charges hurled against him. He said it before: “I will die here.” Make good your word, Erap. O baka gusto mo nang magtago? Di ba ang bida ay hindi pumapalag hanggang tapos ang istorya. May magagaling na mga eye specialists dito, ba’t ka pa aalis?

John Lisboa, Kuwait: He doesn’t want to go to Culion, he doesn’t want to regain his dignity and soul. He’s afraid of paradise, of reality, of true life.

Jason Tigue, New York: Why can’t the government put Estrada under surveillance so he doesn’t leave? He is a suspect in a major criminal investigation. Everybody, including him, knows the only place this thing can end if he is prosecuted fairly is in jail for life. Do you think he is going to stick around for that?

Darius Deguzman, webtv: Obviously, he’s missing his mistresses. I think being with Loi so much aggravates his glaucoma. He should be treated in the Philippines so maybe he can be voted by some Filipino eye specialists.

Widmark Aragon, earthlink: Let Erap remain in the kangkungan. Kangkong is very good for the eyes. The government must prosecute him for all the crimes he had committed. Buking na, huli na, pakakawalan pa ba?

Francisco B. Advincula, British Columbia, Canada: Erap’s sinister motives are obvious. (1) He couldn’t stand the presence of his octogenarian wife, Dr. Loi. (2) Gloria M. Arroyo looking more like Nora Aunor. (3) Erap’s desperate attempt to evade his “crisis manager” Ernie Maceda. (4) Could not bare Ms. Clarissa Ocampo, a genuine ball buster extraordinaire. (5) Get laid with his exiled mistresses. (6) Will shave his head, do penance, spread the cultist teaching of Hare Krisna in every street corner of East LA, and (7) Walk the length of “Death Valley” alone soul-searching.

Lucille Blake, Florida, US: All of the above, except the eye treatment. Erap et al. must face trial and, if convicted, must do the punishment for their crimes. Edsa II is a moral revolution. Without justice there is no closure. History will tell the youth that crime does pay.

Mario Yuzon Jr., Milpitas, California: Whatever the reason why Erap wants to leave, it is his right as a Filipino. The problem is not with Erap, but GMA and her people. At first, they wanted him out of the country saying he was a threat to national security. Now, they want him to stay, saying he should face the charges.

Nimfa C. Tangcuangco, Vista Verde, Cainta: He knows his arrest is imminent. Perhaps it would do him good, while he is in solitary confinement (wala ng kaibigan, wala ng kumpadre, wala ng kamag-anak) to reflect and ask the Lord to grant him the grace of repentance; to be humble enough to acknowledge the crimes he has committed.

Tony Reyes, Everett, Washington: He knows he is guilty and will try to avoid punishment by leaving. He will have no problem taking advantage of the other options listed in your survey as a free man, but if he goes to jail, Erap understands that tapos na ang masasayang araw.

Vilma Tayag, Oakland, California: Erap should be allowed to go abroad for eye treatment. If the new government is concerned about his return to the country to answer the charges, he could be compelled under the extradition treaty with the US. Other personalities charged with various crimes were allowed to leave. Erap should be treated equally.

Sally Ballera, New York: People must stop getting fooled. Erap is going to see Gerry Spence (Imelda’s lawyer in her plunder case in New York), remember?

Paul Dalde, Texas, US: Erap cannot be wrapped up in one reason because of the many angles of this man. He’s got the angle of a hoodlum, gambler, womanizer, etc. What you see of him is not always what you get.

Rico dela Rosa, Potrero, Malabon: Erap’s motive is to undergo plastic surgery swapping Joseph Estrada’s face with Jose Velarde’s. This option will warrant him full enjoyment and benefits of the other choices given.

TonC, Other reasons: (1) He is tired of his local “White Castle.” (2) He intends to live near a grape-growing area where he can booze to his heart’s content on reds. (3) He wants to do his walking abroad with his favorite friend, Johnny W. (4) Back to numero uno is also boring. About his eye condition, he is already myopic and short-sighted and as a result of that he lost his job.

Rose Cortes, Antipolo: He needs to have his eyes treated, but he also wants to see Laarni, Guia, et al., and of course he needs dollars.

Cecilio Impe, Chicago, US: Erap or Joe Velarde, or whatever other names he uses, wants to escape the plunder charges. He should be arrested and put to jail without bail. No one should be above the law.

Leon H. Islaya, pacbell: I wonder why Erap and Imelda developed identical eye problems. Is it strain in the optic nerves for spending too much time counting too much money?

Esmeraldo D. Cato, Woodside, New York: He will withdraw, transfer funds and avoid the charges. He will not have his eyes treated. Filipino eye doctors are better qualified. I also don’t believe there’s a deal with GMA. Everybody’s watching. If Erap is allowed to leave, we will never see him in prison.

Joey Legarda, Makati: We have very good doctors in Manila! It is distorted reasoning to connect letting Erap go with “humanitarian” reasons. First things first, arrest and give Erap his day in court. It is not a life and death situation. It will be a life and death situation for the country if the government gives in to stupid excuses and make Erap look like an underdog.

Nongmen, Manila: Seeing his mistresses is a habit he can’t do now being under housewife arrest.

Wilfredo C. Derequito, Udhailiyah, Saudi Arabia: Estrada wants to go abroad not to have his eyes treated, but to have his (censored) serviced! After attending to the business of the flesh, he attends to real business. He wants to escape charges and enjoy his loot. All he has to do to avoid a warrant is to jump from country to country with which the Philippines has no extradition treaty.

We’ll try to print more of the other responses next time.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 13, 2001)

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