Erap blasts Drilon, LP for Arroyo ties

Former President Joseph Estrada takes a swipe at LP senators Drilon and Pangilinan: Who blocked efforts to expose Arroyo's cheating in 2004?

'THEY'RE EMBARRASING.' Former President Joseph Estrada says Sen Franklin Drilon and other former Arroyo allies who criticize her now are "good turncoats" and "embarrassing." File photo by John Javellana

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – “If there’s someone who should attack GMA, it’s me and not them.”

Former President Joseph Estrada made this statement as he slammed the ruling Liberal Party’s (LP) penchant for bashing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when it used to be allied with the lady chief executive.

In a press conference here on Sunday, March 3, Estrada named LP campaign manager Sen Franklin Drilon and Sen Francis Pangilinan as turncoats who are now fond of criticizing Arroyo.

Estrada held the press briefing with senatorial candidates of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). He cited the 2004 election fraud against his late best friend, Fernando Poe Jr, where Drilon and Pangilinan blocked efforts during canvassing to expose the cheating. 

“Sino ang nandaya kay FPJ nung nag-counting sa Senado? Sino ang Senate President noon? Di ba si Senate President Drilon? At ang assistant niya si Pangilinan, anong sinabi? Noted-noted,” Estrada said. (Who cheated FPJ in the Senate count? Who was the Senate President then? Wasn’t it Senate President Drilon? And his assistant, Pangilinan, what did he say? Noted-noted.)

During the canvassing of presidential votes in 2004, the opposition made motions to open the election returns (ERs) in certain areas to check if the figures would match the vote summaries in the certificates of canvass (COCs). They were convinced that in certain parts of Mindanao, Arroyo’s operators only tampered with the figures in the COCs. Pangilinan only kept on saying, “Noted,” and set aside the motions.

Later in February 2005, the ERs in those ballot boxes were reportedly replaced with corrected ones while in custody at the House of Representatives.

Estrada went on.

“Sino nag-proklama kay GMA nung 2004? Anong oras prinoklama? Alas-3 ng umaga, tulog lahat ng tao. Sino nagproklama? Si Sen Drilon. Ngayon atake sila nang atake kay GMA. Nakakahiya sila.” (Who proclaimed GMA president in 2004? What time was she proclaimed, 3 a.m. when everyone is asleep. Who proclaimed her president? Sen Drilon. Now, they keep attacking GMA. They are embarrassing.)

Turncoats

“Kung may aatake kay GMA, ako, hindi sila. Kasabwat sila ni Gloria lahat.” (If there’s anyone who should attack GMA, it’s me and not them. They were all allies of Gloria.)

Estrada also cited past statements the Ilonggo senator made.

“Atake sila nang atake kay Gloria samantalang si Sen Drilon, nung panahon ni Gloria, nag-offer pa siyang ilipat daw ang Malacanang sa Iloilo. So you see these kind of people ang galing bumalimbing. Alam nila saan sila pupunta.” (They keep attacking Gloria while Sen Drilon even offered to transfer Malacañang to Iloilo during her term. So you see these kinds of people are good turncoats. They know where to go.)

Estrada’s statement comes after Aquino and his senatorial slate visited Arroyo’s home province of Pampanga and attacked her there. Drilon said the province is an Aquino bailiwick even if the former President hails from there

The administration slate has continued making Arroyo an election issue not just in Pampanga but in other sorties as well.

The Liberal Party named Arroyo its honorary chair in 2004, even while she was the head of another party, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. LP had cited the fact that Arroyo’s father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, was an LP. 

In Team PNoy’s proclamation rally, Aquino questioned UNA’s stance as “constructive opposition,” saying former Arroyo allies cannot claim to be his supporters.

Jab at Loren, too 

Estrada also made an apparent swipe at Sen Loren Legarda while he was recalling events of EDSA 2 that led to his ouster in 2001. 

“Bakit ‘di nila cine-celebrate ang EDSA 2? Dahil ikinahihiya nila, dahil mali ang sabwatan nila, nagkamali sila.” (How come they don’t celebrate EDSA 2? Because they are ashamed of it. Because their conspiracy is wrong. They made a mistake.)

“Sinu-sino ang nagsabwatan noon na andoon na ngayon? Paiyak-iyak pa sa Senado nung na-impeach ako pero andoon ngayon.” (Who conspired then but who are now on the other side now? Someone even cried when I was impeached but is already on the other side.) 

Legarda is a Team PNoy candidate. She initially agreed to be a guest candidate of UNA but the alliance junked her, Sen Francis Escudero and Grace Poe last month for snubbing its events. 

‘SWS not credible’

In the press briefing, Estrada explained UNA’s stand of questioning a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing its candidates trailing behind the administration. The survey showed only 3 out of 9 UNA bets in the so-called magic 12.

He said SWS is not credible based on its track record. The former President first cited the Arroyo-Poe 2004 presidential race.

“During the time of election of 2004 between FPJ and GMA, the survey of this same survey team, SWS, they said that the exit poll, GMA will win in Metro Manila but it turned out [that] out of 18 cities and municipalities, FPJ won 17 and GMA won only Paranaque. All the rest, everywhere, FPJ won,” Estrada said.

(Comelec records obtained by Rappler show it was in Las Pinas that Arroyo won. –Ed.) 

Estrada said it happened again when he ran for president in 2010 against Aquino and Sen Manny Villar.

“They rated me as a poor third. When the election started, I was second to PNoy and Villar was the poor third. You see the disparity and this is the same survey team, so it’s not credible basing on the disparity among the survey team of SWS.”

“I’m sorry to say that but that is documented. It’s true. Kaya ‘wag kayong maniniwala sa survey-survey.” (So don’t believe in surveys.)

Vice President Jejomar Binay has also said he could not believe the survey results. 

Instead, UNA has said that the public should base support for its candidates on the huge turnout in its rallies compared to the small crowds in LP events.

SWS and another polling firm, Pulse Asia, were subject to speculations in 2004 after their surveys toward the home stretch showed Arroyo would likely defeat Poe. The data gathering of both polling firms was being conducted by just one firm, Trends.

After the 2004 elections, SWS announced it was forming its in-house team of data gatherers. SWS’s head, Mahar Mangahas, is Poe’s first cousin.

‘President of X-Men’ 

Estrada turned humorous though as he again reflected on his long life and career.

“Ako ang president ng X-Men. Ako pinakamaraming x: ex-movie actor, ex-mayor, ex-senator, ex-vice president, ex-president and ex-convict.” (I am the President of the X-Men. I have the most exes.)

The deposed president was convicted of plunder in 2007 but Arroyo soon pardoned him. In 2010, he almost became president again and finished second to Aquino. He is now running for mayor of Manila.

Estrada said he is in good company.

“Marami naman akong barkada sa X-Men. Si [South African] President [Nelson] Mandela, 27 years convicted. Si Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia also convicted. Our very own Sen Ninoy Aquino was convicted by a military court. Raul Manglapus was convicted.” (I have many friends in the X-Men.)

“So we were all convicted because we’re men of conviction,” Estrada quipped. – Rappler.com 

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