Mary Ejercito, the mother of disgraced ex-president Joseph (Erap) Estrada got outstanding honor when she died. For three days, the 103-year old matriarch of the Estrada clan was laid for viewing at Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan, Manila before she was interred on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at San Juan Public Cemetery. Numerous people from all walks of life streamed in to pay their respects and condoled with the bereaved family.
“Among those who visited the wake in St. John the Baptist Church were Pampanga representative and presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, and Senator Manuel Villar Jr.” GMA News.TV (01/17/09)
Political personalities, movie celebrities, scribes, friends and foes came. Estrada’s chief political rival Pres. Gloria M. Macapagal (who quickly pardoned him after being convicted of plunder) sent her condolence. So did political enemies like Sen. Richard Gordon, undersecretary Reynaldo Berroya, and former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino who was among those who ousted Estrada in the second controversial people’s power. They stopped by the San Juan church to be with the mourners.
In attendance too was Gov. Luis (Chavit) Singson, Ilocandia’s rabble-rouser and witness to Erap’s nightly debaucheries and theft which caused his shameful dismissal from Malacanang Palace. Laarni Enriquez, one of Estrada’s mistresses prevailed for 15 minutes in the church under the glare of people’s curious eyes before leaving.
There were countless ordinary citizens who lined up to pay tribute clogging roads and interrupting vehicular traffic. Funereal wreaths and flowers overflowed. It was to the elderly centenarian’s honor and sympathy to her family that the majority attended the burial.
Politicians are known to be strange bedfellows. Since Estrada’s political rivals and loyal friends came, Mary’s death seemed a time for real reconciliation. If true, the Philippines, rejecting hypocrisy in government leadership and society, may well realize a thousand years of political calm and progress. (Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin/ Pol Briana) =0=