Estrada 'very likely' to endorse Poe's presidential bid
MANILA, Philippines – Former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada is "very likely" to support the presidential candidacy of Senator Grace Poe.
In a press release on Sunday, December 6, Estrada's camp said that he revealed in a recent interview with radio station dzMM that he will definitely support Poe – his goddaughter and daughter of his friend, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr.
"It is very likely, because the father of Grace Poe was more than a brother to me," he said.
Estrada's statement came days after a Commission on Elections (Comelec) division disqualified Poe on the basis of her citizenship and residency requirements.
"She was born here in the Philippines. She was found in the vicinity of a church. And you know that FPJ is a kind and merciful person, so he took care of Grace and treated her as his own daughter. He provided for her studies here and abroad,” he said in defense of Poe.
He said that Poe is doing well as a senator, making her very qualified to be president.
"The way I see it, if she’s not a candidate for president, these complaints will not be put to the fore, or these will not be scrutinized as such. Because she is now a candidate for president, they are trying to find ways to discredit her,” he added.
Estrada ran for another shot at the presidency in 2010, with then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate. Estrada lost to now President Benigno Aquino III, while Binay won.
Despite defending Poe against detractors when she announced her candidacy, Estrada was still undecided on whom to support in the 2016 elections.
With Poe being disqualified by a Comelec division, Estrada expressed interest to run anew for president.
"That [possibility of him running again for president] is only if the opposition will not have anyone left to vie for the presidency. But if there still are the opposition contenders… and there’s also the candidate of the administration, that will be fine, so I will not run for president,” he said.
Poe's camp will still appeal the decision before the Comelec en banc.
But in the event that Poe's disqualification becomes final, Estrada cannot substitute for her. Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 9984 says that a candidate may be substituted by another from the same political party or coalition.
Poe filed her certificate of candidacy as an independent bet. – Rappler.com