Filipino maids in HK censure Estrada in rally


HONG KONG, AP

Several Filipino migrant organizations held a rally Sunday in downtown Hong Kong to denounce their disgraced former leader Joseph Estrada and call for the arrests of his political allies.

Hundreds of Filipinos who work as live-in maids watched a play and listened to speeches accusing Estrada and his cronies of manipulating the poor in their failed attempt last week to overthrow the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Eman Villanueva, secretary-general of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong, said Estrada’s allies used poor people as “pawns and front liners for their own vested interests.”

“The known leaders were nowhere to be found during the height of the rebellion and washed their hands off their crime after the riots,” Villanueva said. “Only the poor were hurt and victimized.”

He said all Estrada’s associates must be “arrested, stand trial, convicted and incarcerated.”

Villanueva called on the 160,000 Filipino workers here to urge their family members back home to prevent Estrada’s allies from gaining seats in elections on May 14.

“Estrada should not be the only one in prison, all his other corrupt friends should be arrested,” said maid Margie Basilio, 27, a Manila native.

Thousands of Filipino maids, who came to affluent Hong Kong to earn money for impoverished families back home, gather around Hong Kong’s Statue Square for singing and picnics on Sundays — their only day off each week.