MANILA, Philippines – What do actors-turned-politicians like former President Joseph Estrada and Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno say once they have joined forces? Abangan! (Stay tuned!)
Estrada and Moreno stopped short of declaring their bid for Manila mayor and vice mayor, respectively, in 2013.
Moreno officially joined Estrada’s political party in an oath-taking at the Club Filipino in San Juan on Thursday, May 3. Moreno took his oath as a member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) along with resigned Sen Juan Miguel Zubiri. (Read: Enrile to Koko, Migz: Politics like war)
Moreno and Zubiri took their oath before PMP chairman Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Moreno brought with him 28 out of 38 Manila city council members to take their oath as PMP members.
In a speech to welcome the new members, Estrada sounded as if he is almost sure about running.
He said that unlike his cousin, Greg Ejercito, who became acting mayor of Manila, “Wala akong balak maging acting mayor.” (I have no plans of being an acting mayor.)
“Mahirap talunin ang kombinasyon namin,” Estrada said to a crowd of partymates and supporters. (Our combination is hard to beat.)
“Kaya umasa kayo, kami ni Isko ay ‘di magkakahiwalay. Kung sakaling ‘di matuloy, lahat ng suporta ko ay ibibigay ko kay Vice Mayor Isko.” (You can count on it, Isko and I are inseparable. If I won’t run, all my support will go to Vice Mayor Isko.)
Estrada said that he and Moreno have many similarities like being former actors and rising from poverty.
When it was Moreno’s turn to speak, he paid tribute to Estrada. He said that like the former President, he had a hard time starting out in politics because people looked down on him as stupid and uneducated. Yet he said he was able to make it.
Moreno ended his speech with what sounded like a campaign slogan.
“Kung si Erap para sa mahirap, si Isko galing sa mahirap kaya Erap para sa mahirap, Isko galing sa mahirap, lalaban sa nagpapahirap.” (If Erap is for the poor and Isko came from the poor then Erap for the poor, Isko from the poor, we will fight against those causing poverty.)
‘Police mentality doesn’t work in Manila’
Estrada explained though that he is still in the process of consulting leaders of PMP and Vice President Jejomar Binay, his coalition partner in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
He said he is aware that if he runs, he might not be able to campaign for the senatorial candidates of UNA.
Still, the former President feels strongly about improving the state of Manila.
In his speech, Estrada also took a swipe at incumbent Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, with whom he had a falling out. If Estrada decides to run, Lim will likely be his rival for the mayoral post.
“It’s a shame. Manila has been left behind by Makati, Quezon City, Taguig and even San Juan. Why did that happen,” Estrada said in Filipino.
“Buti na lang hindi utak pulis ako, shoot to kill ah. Di nakukuha sa ganoon eh.” (Good thing I don’t have police mentality, shoot to kill. That doesn’t work.)
Lim is a former policeman known as “Dirty Harry” in Manila.
Estrada said what Manila needs is “complete urban renewal.”
‘No need to ask Lim’s permission’
In an interview after the oath-taking, Moreno said there was nothing wrong with joining PMP even if Lim was reportedly grooming him as his political heir.
“My relationship with Mayor Lim will not be affected by this. Remember, Mayor Lim is a member of the Liberal Party and I [was] a member of the Nacionalista Party. In 2007, we were not together. I ran under PDP-Laban so technically speaking, we were never partymates.”
Moreno said politics has nothing to do with his work with Lim in the city government. He added he will continue to support Lim as mayor.
Yet Moreno said that in 2013, he and the 28 Manila city council members now under PMP will support Estrada if he runs for mayor.
The vice mayor said he did not see a need to talk to Lim about joining PMP.
“How can I ask permission from him, he’s a Liberal and I’m not a member of the Liberal Party?” – Rappler.com