Friends and foes join the politicking on the anniversary of the 'Edsa II' revolt President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday played down the third anniversary of the bloodless revolt that swept her to power, as former allies accused her of betraying the very ideals behind 'Edsa II'. Mrs Arroyo scheduled her brief visit to the Edsa shrine at 6.30am, just as the capital was rushing to work and school. The thin crowd that joined her amid heavy security was a marked contrast to the hundreds of thousands that converged along Edsa highway on January 20, 2001 to force Joseph Estrada out of office and install Mrs Arroyo as president. Raul Roco, a key player in Estrada's removal and now Mrs Arroyo's rival in the May presidential elections, claimed Mrs Arroyo went to Edsa so early because she was too embarrassed to face the people after having failed to keep the promises she made three years ago. Her spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, said she was 'very preoccupied' with yesterday's first state visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and added she would rather celebrate Edsa II through deeds, not words. Newspapers that hailed her move to power in 2001 had unkind words to say yesterday. Top-selling Philippine Daily Inquirer called her three-year presidency a 'wasted opportunity'. It accused her of 'violating' the spirit of Edsa II by 'making all sorts of accommodations' to Estrada. The Philippine Star noted that the Arroyo government, 'born of public frustration over corruption in high places, has itself been tainted with allegations of venality'. It noted that three years on, 'the plunder case against deposed president Joseph Estrada is sputtering, lost in his impending departure for medical treatment in the United States or some other foreign country'. Leftist groups led by Partido ng Bayan (Nation's Party) Congressman Satur Ocampo staged a rally outside the Edsa shrine. They unfurled a huge streamer accusing Mrs Arroyo of being 'a traitor to the nation'. Mr Ocampo branded her calls for reconciliation with Estrada as 'pure political opportunism' in order to get elected for another six-year term this May. Mrs Arroyo ignored her accusers yesterday. Instead, during a Catholic mass, she led in the singing of a prayer to ask God 'to heal our broken land'. Estrada spent yesterday in detention in an army camp outside Manila, after causing his trial to come to a halt by questioning the legality of his removal from office. However, for the first time, he said that 'maybe I now forgive those who have wronged me'. The May elections are widely perceived as a form of proxy war between Mrs Arroyo and Estrada, represented by his close friend, actor Fernando Poe Junior. Bishop Socrates Villegas marked Edsa II with an attack on politicians during the noon mass at the Edsa Shrine. The monsignor, who is the right hand man of retired Manila archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Sin, slammed the 'politics of convenience and compromise that we see around us'. He said: 'Pardon me, but I have given up on our corrupt and dishonest politicians. Politics is a lost cause in our country, and politicians have given a bad name to politics.'