A Regime of Justice, Freedom, & Democracy

Article excerpt

(Arrival Statement of President JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA January 15, 2005)

MY Countrymen, to whom I have pledged to serve and fight for their rights under a regime of justice, freedom, and democracy while awaiting a new dawn: I have returned.

Nagbalik ako upang tuparin ang sinumpaan kong sagradong pangako sa taumbayan. Nagbalik ako sa bansa at sa sambayanang Pilipino na aking minamahal dahil higit kailanman ngayon ay mas malakas ang aking determinasyon na buhayin ang ating mga nawalang pangarap; ipaglaban ang hinahangad na magandang buhay sa hinaharap; ipatupad ang Konstitusyon at ibalik ang "Rule of Law" o tamang pagpapairal ng mga batas.

I have returned as promised to fulfill a sacred covenant with our people. I have returned to the country and the Filipino people whom I love, stronger, and more determined than ever to restore the hope that has been lost; to fight for a better future; uphold the Constitution and restore the Rule of Law.

And I am stronger and more determined today to do what I had promised the Filipino people on June 30, 1998, when I took my oath of Office as President of the Republic.

Sa patnubay ng dakilang Maykapal, naging matagumpay ang operasyon sa aking dalawang tuhod. Noon ay nahihirapan akong maglakad, ngayon ay wala na ang sakit at sa aking matibay na pananampalataya sa Diyos, naniniwala ako na muling naging matatag ang aking mga hakbang upang marahil ay magampanan ko ang itinakdang misyon ng Diyos sa akin para sa ating bansa mapawi ang pagkawatakwatak ng bayan; magkaisa ang sambayanang Pilipino; at gabayan sa landas tungo sa bagong umaga.

By the grace of God, the operation on my knees was successful. Where I once walked, limping in pain, I now walk straight and through my faith in God, discern that I was made to walk with straight and firm steps, for a purpose the Good Lord has set for me and our country: To heal the social divisiveness in our country; to unite the Filipino people, and set the path for them to see a new dawn.

My unconstitutional removal from the presidency in January 2001, as history shows, had clearly opened a Pandoras Box: One that contained social divisiveness as the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen; hope has been lost, being transformed into disillusionment on promises made, but not kept by the de facto administration.

That bright ray of hope that was beating in the hearts of the masses at the Luneta in June 1998, has turned into anger and despair over the unrestrained corruption in all branches and levels of government which has produced an administration largely without public support, as it is discredited and distrusted, not only by our people and our neighbors, but also by the rest of the international community. …