Erap to Lead Prayer Rally at Luneta

By Maglalang, Ferdie J. | Manila Bulletin, November 8, 2000 | Go to article overview

Erap to Lead Prayer Rally at Luneta


Maglalang, Ferdie J., Manila Bulletin


President Estrada will lead this year's national day of prayer and fasting at the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park, Manila, on Nov. 11, in which various religious groups, including the El Shaddai and the Iglesia ni Cristo, are expected to participate.

Press Secretary Ricardo Puno said he expects a mammoth crowd to join the rally and heed the President's call on the people to pray and fast for "national strength and unity against all adversities."

"All our people are requested in the company of their loved ones in their churches and in their homes to fast and to observe moments of prayer for peace for continuing strength in the midst of adversities," Puno said.

Also participating in the ecumenical prayer rally at Rizal Park are various Protestant groups, the Jesus Miracle Crusade, and the Jesus is Lord Movement.

Puno said other opposition leaders and Catholic leaders are welcome to join the prayer rally which, he stressed, will be a "purely religious" affair.

President Estrada, who has been subjected to public criticisms in prayer rallies organized by the Catholic Church and political opposition leaders, will limit his participation to lighting a candle for peace and unity.

Brushing aside speculations that the Nov. 11 ecumenical party is intended to neutralize the past Catholic church-led rallies, Puno said the event is pursuant to Proclamation 47 signed by President Estrada on Nov. 4, 1998.

During that time, the President had asked the Filipino people to pray for the nation that was just reeling from the Asian economic crisis, the onslaught of the El Nino and La Nina phenomena, and the rash of kidnappings in Manila.

President Estrada created a special group to supervise this year's National Day of Prayer, chaired by Secretary Robert Aventajado, chairman of the presidential committee on flagship projects and programs.

The committee is co-chaired by Interior and Local Government Secretary Alfredo Lim, with Senior Deputy Executive Secretary and Presidential Management Staff chief Ramon Cardenas as vice chairman.

Justice Secretary Artemio Toquero, Press Secretary Ricardo Puno, and Executive Director Acmad Tomawis of the Office of Muslim Affairs serve as members of the committee.

Erap promise

President Estrada said Tuesday that he will immediately vacate his post if it is proven in the impeachment case filed against him that he received money from illegal gambling and that he stole from the national treasury.

In his speech at the 50th anniversary of the Philippine Marine Corps at Fort Bonifacio in Makati City, the President also appealed to his detractors that he be given due process and his day in court.

"And if I am proven a liar, if anybody can show that I accepted even a single centavo from illegal gambling or took it from the national coffers, I will not stay one minute longer as President of the Republic," Mr. Estrada said.

The President said that he is confident that the truth would prevail in the end and that in the final analysis "those who put their personal and political interests above the interests of our country will be proven wrong."

"I am convinced that I will be cleared of all the issues that are unfairly being leveled against me," he said.

The President said this will restore the political and economic stability that his political opponents wish to deny the country in the pursuit of what he described as their selfish desire to seize power before the end of his term in 2004 and outside the framework of the Constitution. …

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