MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada has been put on a ventilator in a hospital to help him breathe after being infected with the coronavirus, his son said on Tuesday.
Estrada, 83, the most prominent Filipino politician to test positive for COVID-19, was hospitalized over a week ago and was initially recovering well, said his son, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada .
But on Monday, “my father’s condition suffered a setback,” he said in a medical bulletin posted on Facebook, adding that doctors had decided to put the former president on a ventilator “to improve intake. oxygen and avoid straining his breathing. mechanism. “
“My father has always been a fighter and I hope that with the help of your prayers he will win this battle,” he said.
Another son of Estrada, former Senator JV Ejercito, also called for prayer, saying in a tweet that “COVID is unpredictable”.
Estrada, a former action movie star and longtime politician, won the presidency in 1998 with one of the biggest margins in Filipino electoral history. But his six-year term was cut short after facing allegations of looting and was ousted in January 2001 during massive protests. He has denied the accusations which he says were fabricated by his opponents.
A special anti-corruption court convicted him of looting in 2007. His successor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pardoned him in a gesture that restored his civil and political rights and allowed him to make an unsuccessful run-off for the presidency. in 2010. He won elections as mayor of Manila in 2013 and has been out of politics since his term ended in 2019.
Separately, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is leading efforts to deal with the pandemic in the Philippines, said he tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday and would go into isolation. The 72-year-old retired army general, who said he had no symptoms, is one of many in President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet to contract the disease. Lorenzana’s cabinet colleagues have all recovered.
Duterte has handed the metropolis of Manila and four outlying provinces, an area of more than 25 million people, back to lockdown amid an alarming spike in infections. The Philippines has reported more than 812,000 cases of COVID-19, including 13,817 deaths, the second-highest total in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.