By ARIS R. ILAGAN
October 30, 2009, 2:53pm
Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, standard bearer of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)-PDP Laban coalition party, said on Thursday showbiz personality Edu Manzano has been officially included in his party’s list of senatorial bets for the May, 2010 elections.
Estrada said during the No Holds Barred media forum sponsored by the National Press Club (NPC) that Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late movie king Fernando Poe Jr., was also named as among the “senatoriables” for the PMP-PDP Laban slate.
Manzano, former head of the Optical Media Board (OMB), which is in the forefront of the government’s drive against video piracy, has agreed to throw his hat in the senatorial race.
The 72-year-old Estrada expressed confidence in the credentials of Manzano, adding that he has the intelligence and background in government service that make him more than qualified to run for the Senate.
Several years ago, the 54-year-old Manzano ran and lost in the mayoralty race in Makati City against then incumbent Mayor Jejomar Binay in a heated campaign that featured some mudslinging.
However, Manzano and Binay, Estrada’s handpicked running mate, are now running under the same political team.
Prior to his showbiz career, Manzano – who was born in San Francisco, California on September 14, 1955 – also served as a serviceman in the United States military starting from age 17.
When he announced his candidacy last October 14, Estrada revealed the party’s Senate lineup which included Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (guest candidate), Makati Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin; Ilocos Norte Rep. Bongbong Marcos, Rep. Ongpong Plaza, detained Army Brig. Gen. Danny Lim, lawyer Koko Pimentel, and NBN-ZTE deal whistleblower Joey de Venecia.
Estrada also disclosed that he had invited ABS-CBN newscaster Ted Failon to take the 12th slot in the PMP-PDP Laban senatorial lineup, but the latter declined the offer saying the TV network management did not allow him to enter the political ring.
Meanwhile, the PMP national officers and members expressed their full support to Estrada’s candidacy, saying he has “triumphantly returned to his endeared mass of Filipinos to fulfill his destiny.”
The group, in its resolution, said they are giving their unqualified commitment and support to Estrada as the PMP’s official candidate for president in the May 2010 elections.
The PMP leadership cited that Estrada is the most qualified among all of the candidates for the position given his extensive experience in government service, spanning more than 30 years, starting from his assumption of the mayoralty in San Juan until the time he won the presidency in 1998.
“The term of H.E. Joseph Ejercito Estrada as President of this Republic was unconstitutionally terminated in 2001 by the conspiracy of groups from the military, big businesses and the elite, and the religious community…. As a consequence of that conspiracy, 11 million Filipinos who voted for President Estrada in 1998 were robbed of the full six-year term of his presidency,” the resolution said.
“Because of his advocacy for the poor and the less privileged, President Estrada had to bear many untold acts of harassment, demeaning personal affronts to his person and his family, and finally made to suffer and endure six-and-a-half years of imprisonment,” the statement said. (With a report from Angie Chui)