By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO and KRIS BAYOS
November 30, 2009, 6:22pm
Three known presidential aspirants filed their certificates of candidacy (CoC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday: Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar of the Nacionalista Party, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Bangon Pilipinas Party, and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
At least three more are expected to file this Tuesday: former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, businessman and former Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez and Senator Ma. Consuelo Ana “Jamby” Madrigal.
Jimenez on Monday said he is ready to spend his enormous assets to run a “decent” campaign as an independent presidential candidate whose platform of government is geared towards fiscal stability of government, eradication of corruption, and protection of human rights.
Announcing his presidential bid only a day before the deadline for the filing of CoC, the former Manila congressman said he was thinking about it since 2004 while serving his sentence at a federal prison in the United States.
“Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ was the turning point and catalyst of my decision to run. During that calamity, the government proved to be so helpless in attending to the needs of the typhoon victims, which should not be the case if only we are financially stable and free from corruption,” Jimenez told the media in a press conference he organized in his residence in Taguig City.
With his entry to the presidential derby, Jimenez challenged his opponents to debate with him their plans to concretize “change” in a country of worsening budget deficit, increasing debts, and declining employment rate.
Madrigal will file her CoC for president at around 7:30 a.m. this Tuesday. She will also run as an independent.
Madrigal is set to finish her Senate term by July 30, 2010, but favored a presidential candidacy with an advocacy for “good governance and pro-Filipino economy.”
Villar was the first among the aspirants to file his CoC yesterday morning. He arrived with his running mate Sen. Loren Legarda and seven of their senatorial bets: Sen. Pia Cayetano, PLM President Adel Tamano, OFW advocate Susan “Toots” Ople, former Congressman Ramon Mitra III, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel’s daughter Gwendolyn, Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
According to Legarda, Gabriela Rep. Liza Masa is also included in their lineup aside from Sen. Miriam Santiago who is a guest candidate.
Second to arrive was the yellow clad Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Movement who boasts of his dream team.
“The entire spectrum of Philippine society is properly represented in this dream team of Bangon Pilipinas. Dumating na ang oras na itinakda. We believe dumating na ang oras na itinakda ng diyos at ng kasaysayan na ang ating minamahal na inang bayan ay tunay na makabangon at makaranas ng tunay na pagbabago. Isang pamahlaan na hindi pa nararanasan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Pamahalaan na para sa bayan hindi para sa iilan. Kaya ito po ang aming hinahandog sa inyo. Simula na ito ng bagong Pilipinas,” said Villanueva.
Included in their dream team are GMA-7 reporter Alexander Tinsay, broadcaster Katherine Inocencio, El Shaddai preacher Atty. Ramoncito Ocampo, teacher Israel Virgines, and Zafrullah Alonto representing Mindanao.
Villanueva’s running mate is Atty. Perfecto “Jun” Yasay, former SEC chairman.
Minutes after Villanueva’s party left the Project Management Office (PMO), Estrada’s camp entered wearing orange shirts.
Erap was accompanied by his wife former Senator Loi, daughter Jackie Ejercito Lopez, and son Jude Estrada.
His son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada was also present and filed his CoC for senator.
Also included in the PMP line up are Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, former Rep. Apolinario “Jun” Lozada, National Broadband Network (NBN) witness Joey De Venecia, Rep. Ompong Plaza, and Atty. JV Bautista.