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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Erap makes no-smoking resolution

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has started chewing sugar-free medicated lozenges after he quit smoking last January 1. “I hope this time, I can make it, and this will be for good,” he said in Tuesday’s interview, adding he has hasn’t touched a stick in seven days.

The 76-year old former president said his last attempt lasted 11 months.“When I smoked again, the number of cigarette sticks in a day even increased,” he said, consuming up to two packs a day. But who got him to kick the habit this time?

“I just want to be healthy,” Estrada said before opening up on talks about a troika in the works with his successor now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former President Fidel Ramos.“There was no political undertone in that visit. It was a friendly visit, and it was done in the spirit of Christmas,” Estrada told Manila Standard, at ease without any sign of craving for a smoke.

Before Christmas, Estrada visited Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City while facing a plunder case before the Sandiganbayan. Ramos paid a visit on a separate date, fuelling speculations on a “Triple X Alliance,” coined from their former positions as President of the Philippines.

His son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada saw the alleged move as unfounded. “Anything can still happen right now, but I don’t think there will be an alliance. That’s impossible,” he said. Another son, Senator JV Ejercito said the hospital visit was made out of compassion and in the spirit of Christmas.

Ramos had called for Estrada’s resignation from the presidency at the height of the corruption scandal in 2000. Arroyo, then Vice President, succeeded Estrada after he was ousted. Estrada has insisted he did not resign but voluntarily stepped down to prevent bloodshed.

Arroyo and Ramos are both stalwarts of Lakas-CMD while Estrada ia one of the three top leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance. UNA is a merger of Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban.

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