Written by Jesus F. Llanto
Monday, 30 November 2009
The battle is still between the masses and the elite, says the former President
Joseph Estrada filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) Monday to formalize his second bid for the presidency, amid questions on whether he is allowed to do that under the Constitution.
Estrada, a former movie actor and mayor of San Juan for 17 years, won the 1998 election with a lead of 6 million votes over then administration bet Jose de Venecia Jr. His term was cut short after an aborted impeachment trial resulted in a massive demonstration that ousted him and installed then Vice President Gloria Arroyo. He was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan but was pardoned by Arroyo after 6 weeks.
While camps that worked for his ouster in 2001 are expected to file cases to have Estrada disqualified or his candidacy nullified, Estrada said it is the current President, Gloria Arroyo, who shouldn't seek any elective position, especially a lower one.
"She has undue advantage over her opponents because she has control of the [government] resources," Estrada said.
Talk is rife that the president is planning to run to be the representative of the second district of Pampanga, the post currently held by her oldest son Juan Miguel. The son, in turn, will reportedly run for governor. Sources said this was the reason that Senator Lito Lapid, who originally planned to re-take the Pampanga governorship, was instead persuaded by the President to seek re-election as senator.
President Arroyo's election lawyer Romulo Macalintal told reporters earlier that she is set to announce her plans Monday by lunch time. A childhood friend and close political ally of the President, former Pampanga board member Lilia Pineda, has told local reporters, too, that representatives will file Ms. Arroyo's COC in Pampanga today.
Who owns orange?
Estrada, his running mate Jejomar Binay, their 6 senatorial candidates said they are running to bring the power back to the masses. This was the reason they chose to file on November 30, the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, who was founder of the revolutionary movement Katipunan and a hero of the masses.
“During the time of Bonifacio, the masses were against the ruling class, which was the Spanish. The ruling class today is the elite,” Estrada said in Filipino as he vowed to continue the pro-poor programs of his short-lived presidency.
Estrada is running under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), the party that he formed for his 1998 presidential bid. His senatorial bets are his son, re-electionist Jinggoy Estrada, re-electionist Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, national broadband scandal whistleblower Jose de Venecia III, lawyer JV Bautista, Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, and former Negros Occidental Rep. Apolinario Lozada Jr. The PMP will have re-electionists Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ramon Revilla Jr.
Estrada and his candidates wore orange, the color used by Estrada in his previous campaign. Orange is also the campaign color of Nacionalista Party's Manuel Villar Jr., who filed with his candidates also today. Villar is already running on a pro-poor platform. Villar grew up in the urban poor area of Tondo, while Estrada was born in Tondo and in fact held his proclamation rally there.
Estrada said that if he wins next year, his administration will focus on food security and on ending the peace problem in Mindanao. In various election fora, Estrada has claimed that his administration gave the highest budget allocation for social services like education and health. It was during his administration that the government forces captured the bases of the secessionist movement Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Asked if he is still confident of the support of the masses, Estrada said he is sure that they would still support him in the same way that they delivered votes for the senatorial candidacies of her wife Loi in 2001 and son Jinggoy in 2004.
“Hindi ako iniwan ng masa kahit ako ay nakakulong (The masses did not leave me even when I was in prison),” Estrada said.
Estrada’s candidacy is expected to be questioned because of a provision in the 1987 Constitution which bans the re-election of the president. Estrada’s camp claims that the provision only applies to incumbent president and to those who have completed their six-year term.
“We are prepared,” Estrada said when asked for his reaction to possible disqualification case against him, adding that they have a legal team composed of legal luminaries and former Supreme Court justices.
Political analyst and University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera III told Newsbreak in a previous interview that the uncertainties surrounding Estrada’s eligibility would pose a threat to his campaign because “it turns off a lot of voters.” (Newsbreak)