People Power II: The downfall of a president
In January, after 31-months in office, 64-year-old
Joseph Estrada became the first Philippine president ever jailed
for alleged corruption, his fate sealed by a popular military-backed
The Edsa shrine in Manila, the stage of the 1986
'people power' revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos,
again became a symbol of democracy for the nation. It was at the
shrine that Arroyo took her oath of office, cheered on by thousands
The disgraced former movie star and his family
left the presidential palace roughly two hours after Arroyo swearing-in
amid vows from his followers that they would reinstate him.
Estrada is alleged to have amassed more than $77
million (four billion pesos) whilst in office -- an accusation
he hotly denies.
The former leader says his arrest marks the culmination
of a long-running "conspiracy" waged against him by the influential
business community, led by Manila's middle class and elite.
The former president is still being held on non-bailable
charges of economic plunder, graft, perjury and the illegal use
of an alias.
He has denied all charges.
People Power 2 may have set a dangerous precedent
in the Philippines, those who have come to power on the crest
of a moral war against corruption, may also suffer the same demise.
However the new administration appears more disciplined.
Arroyo has a tough job ahead: to push forward
with economic reforms, provide stability for investors, as well
as come up with a solution for Muslim militancy in the south --
an issue that has distracted the administration from its main
Healing the divisions of the past, as well as
convincing people that there is hope in the future is Arroyo's
In the wake of Estrada's removal from office,
the Philippine government is still in a dilemma: how to enforce
the law without turning Estrada, who has been in detention for
over eight months, into a martyr for his mostly impoverished followers?
Estrada's trial is set to resume on January 7,