Estrada Says He Won't Be Bothered by Impeachment Trial

Philippine President Joseph Estrada said Friday, December 8, that the ongoing impeachment trial will not prevent him from performing his job as president and he is confident that he will finish his term in 2004.

Speaking at the 5th Congress of the Philippine Association of Board Examiners here, Estrada said in the final analysis, those who have put their personal and political interests above the interests of the country will be proven wrong.

"Our Constitution mandates that I perform the duties of the Chief Executive until the year 2004, and I have no intention of defying that mandate. I promised a much better life to our people - - especially the poor -- and I intend to keep that promise during the term that is mandated by our Constitution," he said.

The president also said he was confident that the truth will prevail in the end. "I am convinced that I will be cleared of all the issues that are unfairly being leveled against me," he said.

He also stressed that his family is not a family of stealers as his opponents wish to impress on the public.

"I repeat I did not accept any single centavo from any form of illegal gambling. My conscience is clear. I am not hiding anything from our countrymen. There are no stealers in our family because all of them have striven to become professionals. I believe that eventually in the end the truth will prevail," he said.

In the same speech, Estrada called on the support of an estimated 1.8 million Filipino professionals in helping push the Philippines to the forefront of globalization, saying that in this age of globalization, everyone should work together for national interest.

"I am confident that each one of you will do your best and contribute your share in making our country more globally competitive. In this age of globalization, we should all work together because we cannot afford to divide ourselves in the midst of economic competition among nations," he said.

President Estrada said it is from the ranks of professionals that society derives its strength, owing to their knowledge, expertise and technologies.

"Professionals have traditionally been at the forefront of development of nations. The degree of progress of countries correlates well with its citizens who are equipped with the advanced knowledge and skills required for positions of responsibility in government, business and human endeavors."

People's Daily Online ---