P200 from Erap makes mother of sick child cry
By Carmela Reyes, Inquirer Central Luzon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL Monte, Bulacan, Philippines—Joseph Estrada, or any candidate for that matter, will probably think twice now before giving away cash during campaign sorties.
Instead of making her happy, a P200 gift handed out during a Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) rally here on Wednesday made this mother cry.
Myra Albolera, one of the people who benefited from the Estrada administration’s housing project here, claimed she was insulted on being given the money by Estrada after she asked for help for her three-year-old son Yanyan.
Yanyan’s face and chin has grown abysmally large and Albolera said she wanted Estrada to help get medical treatment for her boy. She said she tried to return the money but never got the chance.
Former Transportation Secretary Vicente Rivera, PMP provincial chair in Bulacan, said Estrada might not have understood what she wanted because her voice might have been drowned out by loudspeakers at the rally.
On Friday, Albolera said Sen. Jinggoy Estrada apologized to her on behalf of his father. She said the senator fetched her and her son and took them to the San Juan Medical Center so the boy could have a battery of tests.
Jinggoy then transferred them to the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, where Yanyan is confined while doctors determine his ailment.
The episode occurred on the sidelines of the PMP rally at the covered court of Pabahay 2000 in Barangay Muzon. Pabahay 2000 is a resettlement area developed during Estrada’s term in 1998.
On arrival here, Estrada had immediately gone to a meeting with Bulacan officials at the Grotto Vista resort.
Champion of the poor
Albolera said she approached Estrada with Yanyan in tow as soon as he stepped out of the resort. But all Estrada did was hand her the bill, she claimed.
Reporters chanced upon a crying Albolera while she followed Estrada’s group.
“What he did was insulting. I approached him for help for my son’s treatment. I did not expect him to reply with this P200 bill. He handed it to me and then he rubbed my son’s head,” she said in Filipino.
“We are poor, that was why we approached him. Didn’t he say he was the champion of the poor? I don’t need P200 … My child (appears to have) a tumor. He needs an operation,” she said.
Jinggoy may have saved the day—or at least one mother’s vote—for his father. With a report from Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer Northern Luzon