Former Filipino President Defies Age

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada had always maintained that giving generously to friends and forgiving opponents are the secrets to staying young. But time has a way of catching up with even the most formidable leading men.

Since he entered national politics 25 years ago, Estrada has struggled with the attributes of old age—weight gain, a painful knee here, a cataract there. He needed some kind of elixir of youth to put to right what nature has put asunder. And to get back on his feet in time “to serve the people”, he said which has “no age limit”. So he did it, and is very open about it. What is it?

At the prodding of friends, the 75-year-old Estrada flew to Germany, in April 2012 to undergo fresh cell therapy, an innovative albeit controversial procedure where fresh cells from donor animals are injected into the human body to treat diseases or reverse the aging process. Fresh cell therapy operates under the principle of “like heals like”. The fresh cells from a donor animal’s organ are infused into the human counterpart. Substances in the donor’s blood are supposed to reactivate the human body’s immune system and defense mechanism, a reaction that would eventually rebuild and revitalize aging tissues.

Organs from unborn sheep

Estrada said he received 14 shots of organ cells from unborn sheep in his buttocks during the visit. “It was a one-time thing, there will be no follow-ups,” he added. “I used to have insomnia. I can’t sleep. Before it was only three hours. Now I sleep better—six to seven hours. So far, that’s it,” the former President said in an exclusive interview with Inquirer in his Polk Street residence Friday night. Estrada was told it would take three months before he can experience the full effects of the procedure.

A brochure from the German clinic that Estrada visited claimed fresh cell therapy improves skin tone and complexion, reduces wrinkles, stabilizes mental power and increases “vitality, energy levels and physical power”. A sheaf of papers attached to the brochure had a page containing the computer printouts of the pictures of American pop star Madonna and actresses Sharon Stone and Halle Berry, identified there as celebrities who are “cell therapy patients”. In another page, Estrada pointed to a picture of South African President Nelson Mandela.

Told that his skin looked radiant, the ex-President said: “My skin has been like this ever since”. “I went there just wanting to keep healthy. My knees are no longer a problem since I had my replacement therapy six years ago. My friends said it is very effective. Nothing wrong in trying so I went”, Estrada added. The former President said those who suggested the treatment to him claim they now enjoy more variety in food choices.

More energized

“They feel more energized. According to them, they cannot walk a quarter of a kilometer before. Now they can walk three or four,” he said. Estrada noted that fresh cell therapy is becoming popular in the country. “I know of politicians, businessmen, friends in the Chinese community who also did it. But I’m not at liberty to tell you,” he chuckled.

Estrada asserted that the full benefits of fresh cell therapy would be appreciated when he challenges incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim in the Manila mayoralty race in 12 months.

Extract and Adaptation of an article published on May 12th, 2012 in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.