Monday, March 8, 2010

Erap to relinquish top post to VP in four years, if...

By Gerry Baldo

Original Story:

Former President Joseph Estrada, standard bearer of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), yesterday said that his only aim in running for the presidency again is to finish his “unfinished platform,” stressing that he is willing to relinquish his post as president to his vice president in the event that the aim is fulfilled.

Estrada, however, said he would step down from the presidency on the condition that he is able to finish his program of government which includes, food security, peace and order and an improved economic condition in the country.

“If I see that I have already resolved, in four years all these problems, which will benefit the masses, the Vice President may already take over the presidency. Or, if I will, by that time, already have all the programs and platform, such as having achieved peace and order, food security, and getting the economy fixed, I will ask the vice president to take over,” Estrada said yesterday.

Estrada, after a motorcade from Sucat Road to Baclaran near the Redemptorist Church, said that he does not need the entire six-year term of the presidency if he can complete his program in four years.

He was joined in the motorcade by his running mate Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, PMP senatorial candidates, Joey De Venecia III, former Negros Occidental Rep. Apolinario “Jun” Lozada, former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, and re-electionist senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

“I myself don’t want to stay in power for so long, I’ve been in power for so long. I’ve been mayor, senator, vice president, and president. I just want to continue my programs and I think I can finish them in four years time,” he said.

He stressed that in the event that he does not finish his program of government in four years, he would have to finish his term.

“If I can’t finish it (programs) in four years, I will complete it in six years,” he vowed.

Reacting to a statement issued by presidential economic adviser Albay Governor Joey Salceda that the economy under the Arroyo administration is in the doldrums, Estrada said that Arroyo was not concerned about the plight of the poor and did not concentrate on food security.

“She wasn’t concerned on the plight of the poor. She didn’t concentrate on food security. Remember a hungry stomach knows no law. In my case I focused on agriculture,” Estrada said.

He said that his returning to the presidency after Arroyo is not an easy task.

“It could be very difficult, it will take a lot of sacrifice from me. I’ll spend many sleepless nights.”

He said that he hopes to put the country in order under the same platform of presidency when he first ran for president in 1998.

“My platform is the same. I have food security, peace and order and anti graft and corruption. Itfs all planned under my administration. I have the study of the World Bank. I still had it when I assumed office. I had the World Bank officials make a study on how to address corruption. I had a study, except that I prioritized food security and peace and order, the next would be the ptogrant on anti graft and corruption.”

On the elite who were instrumental in ousting him in Edsa ll, Estrada said that he is not vindictive.

“We should forget the past. Together, let’s move forward. If you see that I have completed my program for government in three to four years time, I may have the vice president take over.”

“I’m in the twilight of my life, I’ll do the best that I can to serve the Filipino people. I want to be remembered as the man who championed the cause of the poor.”

Meanwhile, the PMP yesterday criticized Arroyo for failing to improve the Philippine economy despite her boasts of being an economic prodigy.

Reacting to a statement issued by Albay Governor Salceda that there was an economic imbalance during the term of Arroyo when the poor became poorer and the rich got richer, Estrada said that he was not surprised at the statement of Mrs. Arroyo’s economic adviser.

“I agree with the statement of Salceda. We can see for ourselves that today, there are more who are hundry and poor, and have no job opportunities while the rich have gotten richer,” Senator Jinggoy said.

He pointed out that Mrs. Arroyo did not make use of his economic prowess because she was only concerned with the elite and the rich.

Senator Estrada said that during the time of his father, former President Estrada, the unemployment rate was only pegged at 8 percent vis-a-vis Arroyo’s 14 percent.

The issue of widespread corruption is also a concern that has been neglected under the current administration.

“During my father’s time, the country was number 45 in the list of the most corrupt. Today, under Mrs. Arroyo, the country is numebr one,h he said.

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