Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Estrada gets surprise greetings from Teodoro, Aquino

By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:36:00 04/20/2010

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Joseph Estrada

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100420-265312/Estrada-gets-surprise-greetings-from-Teodoro-Aquino

TAYTAY, RIZAL—On his 73rd birthday Monday, former President Joseph Estrada got surprise birthday greetings from Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, but not a word from Sen. Manuel Villar, the man Estrada considers his bitter rival.

On the eve of his birthday, he was gifted with a brand new Toyota Sequoia SUV (Platinum model retails between $56,180 and $59,405 in the US) by his wife, former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito and their children. In turn, he promised to lessen his smoking even as he claimed that his lungs remained “clear.”

Having heard of Estrada’s lavish praises on him since last week, administration candidate Teodoro phoned the former president Monday morning for a customary “Happy Birthday” greeting, and more.

Estrada considers Teodoro the most qualified, besides himself, among the present crop of presidential wannabes.

“Good luck to us,” Teodoro told the ousted president, apparently referring to their respective chances of winning in the May 10 elections.

Quite ironically, Estrada and Teodoro have struck an alliance of sorts, one that was apparently forged in the face of defections plaguing the latter’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.

Never mind if Estrada describes himself as the only “true opposition” while Teodoro is—at least on paper—the official candidate of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the administration party.

Estrada is in a solid third place in all major surveys, followed by Teodoro whose 6 to 8 percent ratings have kept him at fourth.

Happy birthday via text

Estrada said he also got a birthday greeting by text message from Aquino of the Liberal Party, but none from Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

The ex-president and his camp have been criticizing the billionaire Villar for allegedly copying his campaign strategies—from political color to the pro-poor theme.

“They only lack the moustache and the wristband,” reelectionist Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, his son, told the crowd in one campaign rally in Bohol province.

Boodle fight

As had been his ritual, Estrada celebrated his birthday in Barangay San Lorenzo Ruiz here, the home of hundreds of former squatters he had relocated from San Juan years ago.

Estrada arrived at the community shortly before 12 noon for a “boodle fight” with select residents, mostly children and the elderly. He was welcomed by some 200 well-wishers, some of whom planted kisses on his cheeks.

As if on cue, he began feeding 90-year-old Elena Felix with lechon (roasted pig) and pork adobo (stew) using his bare hands. He did the same with 6-year-old Genevieve Pedroso in front of TV cameras and photographers.

To see the president

Pedroso’s mother said she and her daughter had come all the way from Merville subdivision in ParaƱaque City to see the ex-president on his birthday.

“I wish we would have a genuine president after the elections,” he told reporters. “I hope the elections will be peaceful and clean, unlike in 2004, which was chaotic.”

About 30 minutes later, Estrada hopped into his black Ford Navigator and proceeded to the Payatas district in Quezon City.

Been there, done the test

In a related development, Estrada has jumped the gun on the two survey front-runners over the issue of taking psychiatric examinations by presidential contenders to help ascertain their fitness for the job.

In a radio interview, he said he had gone through such a test before the start of the campaign period last February, or way before Senators Villar and Aquino began taunting each other.

“There’s no need [for a psychiatric test] because I’ve had mine already,” he said in Filipino.

“Besides, my wife is a psychiatrist so if ever I had a mental problem, she should have left me long ago,” he said in jest, referring to Dr. Loi Ejercito, who is also a former senator.

The issue of a presidential candidate’s mental fitness surfaced after the release of a fake psychiatric test supposedly done on Aquino at the Ateneo de Manila University. Villar’s camp denied that it was the source of the bogus report.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100420-265312/Estrada-gets-surprise-greetings-from-Teodoro-Aquino

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