November 30, 2009 11:18:00
MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) Former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada made official his presidential comeback bid as he filed his candidacy for president with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Bonifacio Day.
Estrada, who drove a jeep from Liwasang Bonifacio on his way to Comelec to file his certificate of candidacy, said he filed his bid Monday to “give significance” to the filing by honoring the 146th birthday of revolutionary hero, Andres Bonifacio.
Together with him are his running mate Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, who withdrew plans for presidency and later allied with Estrada, and his wife, former Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito.
Estrada and his supporters were all wearing orange, the color of Nacionalista Party’s Senator Manuel Villar Jr., who formalized his presidential bid earlier this morning.
sens are juan ponce enrile, jinggoy estrada, rodolfo plaza, jose de venecia the third, apolinario jun lozada, jv bautista. three guest sens are miriam santiago, dany lim, bong revilla. for consider marcelibno of pdea, ex labor sec laguesma and poe backed out. rex cortez for consideration
Both Estrada and Binay vowed to return power to the masses by offering “new leadership” to rebuild the country that was “mismanaged for over eight years” under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Estrada and Binay unveiled the United Opposition's platform of government, mainly focused on pro-poor initiatives, during a program at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila before filing their bids.
Legal debates arose after Estrada declared months ago that he would take another shot at the presidency, claiming he was “disrupted” from his term in 2001. Lawyers who drafted the 1987 constitution said the ousted president is “ineligible” to run “for any re-election.”
Asked to comment on this, Comelec legal chief Ferdinand Rafanan said the poll body has a ministerial duty to accept all presidential bids filed within the set period, however, like anyone's candidacy, the former president's “can be challenged.”
“It must also be noted that all candidacies can be challenged by any person. While it is true that Comelec has a ministerial duty to accept all candidacies filed, the Comelec is also mandated to include only those qualified on the official list of candidates for the 2010 elections,” he told INQUIRER.net.
Estrada spent 33 years in the movie industry before being elected mayor of San Juan, then later senator, vice president, and finally president in 1998 with 11 million votes. After he was ousted from office in a civilian-led military-backed revolt on charges of corruption in 2001, Arroyo succeeded him.
In 1972, Estrada was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in Public Administration by the Philippine Jaycees. He also established the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund) Inc., which provides financial assistance to movie industry workers, according to his website www.erap.ph.
Binay served as mayor of the country's financial district for over 20 years, initiating wide-ranging social services for the city’s poor particularly in the area of education and health. He has also been charged with corruption.
With reports from Philip Tubeza, PDI