Filipinos Hit the Streets to Protest Decision on President

Prosecution of Estrada Virtually Suspended

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MANILA, Philippines, JAN. 18, 2001 (
More than 100,000 people gathered at midnight Wednesday at the Edsa Shrine, to observe a second night of vigil against the suspension of the parliamentary prosecution of President Joseph Estrada.

The Senate denied the possibility of opening the president´s secret bank accounts, which in Manila is being interpreted as «de facto absolution.»

Cardinal Jaime Sin, archbishop of Manila, called on the Philippine people to continue their peaceful street protests «until evil is defeated by good.» The massive street opposition echoes the peaceful popular revolt that forced dictator Ferdinand Marcos to flee the country in February 1996.

Cardinal Jaime Sin celebrated a second Mass on Wednesday afternoon, following the Mass in the Edsa Shrine on the first night of the vigil. Former President Cory Aquino, and the current vice president and opposition leader Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attended that event.

«We are all angry at the shameful eleven who decided to hide the truth from us,» Cardinal Sin said. «We are angry at this blatant game of numbers. Morality is not a matter of numbers. Morality is from God, and God does not sleep. God will judge and punish those who prevent the truth from being known.»

Manila´s archbishop added that with «all the evidence already present, only the foolish and the crazy will say he is as innocent as a dove and as pure as a child.»

Protest marches were organized in all the main towns across the country, including Davao, Cebu, Bacolod, Naga, Pampanga, Cabantuan, Cagayan de Oro, Legaspi and Socksargenn.

Estrada, who was impeached on allegations of corruption, seemed ready to defy the entire opposition. He has sent the security forces to the crucial points of the country.

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