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Former Philippine President Convicted of Plunder Likens Himself to Mandela, Suu Kyi

During his inaugural speech as mayor of Manila, Joseph Estrada, a former president of the Philippines who was ousted from power and convicted for plunder, compared himself to other world leaders who also served a prison term:

For the first time, Manila will have an ex-convict as your city mayor

And I feel I am in good company with Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and our own Senator Ninoy Aquino who was convicted by a military court. We were all convicted. That is why we are now all men of conviction

Mayor Joseph Estrada. Photo from Facebook

Mayor Joseph Estrada. Photo from Facebook

Joseph Estrada became president in 1998 but was deposed by an uprising in 2001 following allegations of corruption. He was found guilty of plunder in 2007 but was immediately pardoned by former President Gloria Arroyo, his vice president during his term. He ran for president in 2010 and placed second in the race which he interpreted as a sign that he still has a strong following in the country. This year he made a successful comeback in politics by winning as mayor of Manila, the country’s capital.

Before his June 30 inaugural speech, Estrada already mentioned his admiration for democracy icon Nelson Mandela:

I told myself that just as it took Mandela a lifetime to achieve freedom from apartheid – he spent 27 years in prison and voted for the first time at the age of 75 – I had to be prepared to spend the rest of my life in prison, fighting to regain our true democracy

It was this determination to make a stand for the Filipino people and for the country that kept me strong even behind bars.

Netizens reacted strongly to Estrada’s speech. Below are some reactions:

@aldussantos Erap likens self to Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, & Ninoy. Thought he did action films? What a comedian this guy.

Erap is Estrada’s moniker as an actor. He was a popular actor before joining politics in 1969.

@PATRICKxxSTARR Erap Estrada compared himself to Mandela and Aquino – these were imprisoned out of nobility! and you are out of Selfishness and greed! Tss!

@Boy_Balaraw No Erap, you're no Mandela. You went to jail because you were a thief. And a plunderer.

@GianoTurning Erap is not in the same sentence, not even in the same dictionary as Mandela. Dear God, someone was on drugs.

@neeleshnowin3d I see the similarities between Erap and Mandela.

Mandela fought for racial equality.
Erap is fighting for beerhouse equality. #gatesofhell

@carloshconde After Erap's speech comparing his imprisonment (for plunder!) to Mandela's,i don't see how anybody can work for him & look at self in mirror

@junrebs Mandela and Ang Suu Kyi are both political prisoners while ERAP was convcted of plunder. Big difference.

@IndividNoellism So Erap compared himself to Nelson Mandela? Is he nuts?

@KulasDi erap: “i am in good company with mandela, ibrahim and suu kyi”. is he dreaming? none of these are drunkards & womanizers!

Estrada’s critics often highlight his controversial lifestyle and playboy image to question his competence.

@nicolonimor When you read his caption, sounds awful RT @rapplerdotcom: Erap takes oath as ‘ex-convict mayor’ of Manila

@madison_place Major cringe. Did Erap Estrada just compared himself to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi? Please, don't.

@opinionbuster Dear Erap, stop romanticizing your “ex-convict-ness.”

@Tito_Ces At his inaugural Mayor Erap maintains his innocence of crime of plunder. He was addressing his movie fans who believe his fantasies :D

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