Monday, November 30, 2009

Bumpy start for Estrada’s comeback trail

By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:48:00 11/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines -- Former President Joseph Estrada’s candidacy got a “bumpy” start to his comeback bid on Malacañang on Monday.

Driving a jeep to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila to file his candidacy, the ousted President urged voters to reject politicians spending “billions” just so they could capture Malacanang.

But before Estrada could formally file his papers, he accidentally bumped his forehead on the jeep he was driving.

Estrada had to put a bottle of cold water on the lump to keep it from growing but the bump above his right eye was visible and the former President continued touching it as he faced the cameras.

“Be careful especially of those who buy your votes. Our country will really suffer if you sell your votes,” the former President told about 1,000 supporters at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

“Because once you sell your votes to those who spend big during the campaign, they will try to get this back 10, 20, or 100 times from our country’s treasury,” he added.

Estrada said the public should teach these big spenders “a lesson” and trash them in the polls

“To teach these politicians who spend billions--buying leaders and votes----a lesson, accept the money and put it in your pocket but write down the Filipino masses in the ballot,” Estrada said.

When asked if he was referring to Sen. Manuel Villar, who had reportedly spent millions on TV ads, the former President said he was referring to all candidates.

Estrada and his supporters attended Mass at the Liwasang Bonifacio before proceeding to the Comelec main office as the country marked the birth of national hero Andres Bonifacio.

Likening himself to Bonifacio, Estrada said he would also launch a revolution against the ruling oligarchy, whom he blames for his ouster in 2001.

“Bonifacio was also born in Tondo. He was not able to finish his studies. I also was not able to finish my studies and I’m also for the masses,” Estrada said.

Estrada was joined at the Liwasang by his running mate, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco, comedian Bayani Agbayani, and actor Tirso Cruz III.

Besides Enrile, the other Estrada senatorial candidates present were Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza and former Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Apolinario “Jun” Lozada.

Estrada said he was going to run again for the presidency in part because he wanted to fulfill a promise he made to his late mother before she died earlier this year.

“Joseph, ano ba ang nangyayari sa iyo (what’s happening to you)? You only had one more year left in your engineering studies but you did not finish it,” Estrada recalled his mother telling him.

“You also did not finish your presidency…your sentence, you also did not finish…I’m dying but you haven’t finished anything yet,’” he said.

“So I said `Mama, don’t worry. I will go back and finish my presidency,” he added.

After a short program, Estrada’s supporters began marching towards Comelec, with a brass band leading the way, while Estrada took the driver seat of the jeep which had the sign “Jeep ni Erap.”


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