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PIA Press Release
2007/10/30

El Shaddai, Iglesia back PGMA's pardon of 'Erap'

Manila (30 October) -- Two of the country's biggest religious groups have joined the voices of support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's decision to grant executive clemency to former President Joseph Estrada.

In a letter dated Oct. 26, 2007, El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde and Iglesia ni Kristo Spokesman Bro. Bienvenido Santiago said "the pardon will significantly help in promoting national unity and political stability that our country and people badly need to improve our economic and security conditions."

"We hope and pray that our national leaders will take your action as a positive step toward national healing and reconciliation and join hands to move our country forward," they added.

The two religious groups are the latest among those who have expressed approval for Estrada's pardon.

Former President Corazon Aquino was among the first to laud President Arroyo's decision. She was followed by Vice President Noli de Castro, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and several other clergies, Senate President Manuel Villar, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry among several other business groups.

Despite the groundswell of support, however, Press Secretary and Acting Executive Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye called on Filipinos to stop arguing on the merits of the pardon and instead focus on looking forward and achieving national unity.

"Let us put this black chapter in our country's history behind us and concentrate on what's really important," he said. "We must now write a new chapter about a New Philippines that is focused on political stability and economic opportunity." (OPS) [top]

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