MANILA, Philippines – Should actor-turned-former President Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada give one more political performance?
Estrada’s family and political allies are split on whether or not the 75-year-old leader should run for Manila mayor in 2013.
During Estrada’s birthday party in Le Pavillon in Pasay City on Thursday, April 19, people close to the former president reacted to his statement that he is 50-50 about running. Watch their interviews here:
The former president’s former running mate and close political ally, Vice President Jejomar Binay said the public should just wait for Estrada to make up his mind.
Binay told reporters, “That is a decision he is going to make.”
For Sen. Koko Pimentel, if Estrada runs for Manila mayor, he will represent the newly formed United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino.
“If he runs, he will bring the presence of the coalition into the city of Manila,” said Pimentel.
On Monday, April 16, Estrada admitted that he is considering running for Manila mayor.
“I’m 50-50 [about running] because I was born in Manila, in Tondo and I became famous in Tondo as Asiong Salonga and I met so many people,” Estrada said.
A former actor, senator, vice president and president, Estrada started his political career as mayor of San Juan City. Yet he was born in Tondo and has a house in Sta Mesa, Manila.
Estrada’s ally in the city, former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, told Rappler he is excited about the prospect.
“The city of Manila will have a savior because we really need to revive Manila through the leadership of Erap,” Atienza said in Filipino.
Criticizing the leadership of incumbent Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, Atienza said the city is beset by “very bad” peace and order conditions, and urban decay. He said that from Quiapo to Plaza Miranda, Blumentritt, Divisoria and even Malate, the city is dark and rotting.
“If only we remind the residents of Manila of the shortcomings of the current administration, if they think of this and compare it to the capabilities of President Erap, no doubt, he will win by a landslide.”
Atienza added, “We need Erap.”
Estrada’s son, Sen Jinggoy Estrada, however clarified that there is nothing definite about his father’s political plans.
Whatever his decision will be, Estrada will have the support of his longtime friend and partymate, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“Why not if he can make it? This is a free country right?”
Asked about his support for Estrada, Enrile said, “He’s my friend. We belong to the same party. It goes without saying.”
‘Leave politics to your sons’
Another Estrada son, San Juan Rep Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said it was up to his father.
“Of course, we will always be there for him but personally, there’s nothing more to prove ‘cause as I’ve said, whatever he has gone through, the mere fact that he got almost 10 million votes in the last elections is already vindication so [there’s] nothing more to prove.”
In the 2010 polls, Estrada ran again for president and finished second place, next to Benigno Aquino III.
For Estrada’s former executive secretary, Sen Edgardo Angara, it is best if he just leaves politics to his sons.
Angara explained running for Manila mayor may not be the best decision for Estrada, who just turned 75.
“It will be good for his career and for his health that he does not aspire for a highly competitive seat like Manila,” Angara said. – Rappler.com