Erap might run for president if...
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Joseph Estrada is supporting his friend, Vice President Jejomar Binay for president in 2016 but he is not ruling out his own candidacy either.
In an interview on ANC’s Headstart on Thursday, June 19, Estrada reiterated his support for his fellow opposition leader, Binay, but left the door open for a third presidential bid.
Asked if he will run against Binay in 2016, Estrada said, “The Vice President is my candidate.”
Yet in the same breath, he said, “Well, it depends. There are many things that might happen.”
Estrada said it was impossible for President Benigno Aquino III to ask him to be the administration’s presidential candidate. Yet he said the president might tap Binay, who has repeatedly expressed support for the President as a member of the Aquino Cabinet and a longtime family friend of the Aquinos.
“I belong to the opposition so I can’t run for the administration; no way. Unless, the Vice President runs as a candidate of the administration, I’ll think it over,” said Estrada.
Again pressed if he will run against Binay, Estrada said, “No, unless there are other developments.”
For now, Estrada said that the vice president remains a formidable candidate. Surveys show Binay is the leading frontrunner, with 40% choosing him as president in a March Pulse Asia survey.
“[As I see it], right now, the Vice President is unbeatable. In all the surveys, he’s on top,” Estrada said. “He’s our candidate. He’s the opposition candidate.”
Estrada said that while critics of the 71-year-old Binay raise his age and health as issues against him, the Vice President is “very strong.”
The former President said that Binay will maintain this standing even if younger candidates like Senator Grace Poe challenge him. “I would say the Vice President has the edge.”
Estrada and Binay are top leaders of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), along with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile who now faces a plunder charge over the pork barrel scam.
Speculation of a possible Estrada presidential bid started after analysts said that the former president might run or be asked to run for president again to halve the votes of the masses, the core support base of both Binay and Estrada.
The rumors heightened following a rift between the two opposition leaders over a market renovation project in Manila. Yet the two soon reconciled and downplayed their disagreement.
A convicted plunderer, Estrada staged a political comeback in 2010 when he ran for president and almost won, finishing second to Benigno Aquino III. He again ran for Manila mayor in 2013, this time in a successful campaign.
Jinggoy won’t run vs Isko
Estrada also weighed in on the 2016 mayoral race, particularly on who he will anoint as his successor as Manila mayor.
Speculation has been rife that Estrada’s son Senator Jinggoy Estrada might run for the post after the pork barrel scam dashed his vice presidential ambitions.
The elder Estrada though said that his Vice Mayor Isko Moreno remains his pick to be Manila mayor in 2016. Estrada said he will not allow the senator and the vice mayor to compete for the post.
He also ruled out another San Juan mayoral bid for his son. “He’s been there. No.”
Still, Estrada said the corruption scandal will not end Senator Jinggoy’s political career.
“Of course, once he’s acquitted here, he has a very good future. I believe in him.”
Estrada, Enrile and Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr face impending arrest after they were charged for plunder and graft before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
The 3 opposition senators are accused of channeling their discretionary funds or pork barrel to bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for millions of pesos in kickbacks. – Rappler.com