MANILA, Philippines – After hurling very personal attacks against his rival in a number of public forums, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said he would kick off his re-election campaign focusing on his accomplishments instead of critizing former President Joseph Estrada.
But he could not help but lambast Estrada on the sidelines of his proclamation rally on Monday, April 1.
A day earlier, Estrada and his slate hosted “Easterada Sunday” – a rally that lasted 7 hours and gathered 75,000 – where he promised to resurrect a Manila that has allegedly decayed under Lim’s rule.
Lim, who is running for his third and final term as mayor, slammed Estrada and called him a liar – the standard term by which he has been calling his rival.
“Baka nakainom siya, kaya ayun ang sinasabi niya (Maybe he was drunk. That’s why he said that),” Lim told reporters when told about Estrada’s claim that Manila is rotting.
“Look at Manila, look at the tall buildings. Is this rotting to you? Right now there’s a 57-storey building in Chinatown. On Roxas Boulevard, 53 stories, behind Admiral Hotel. In Ermita, Malate, there is another just inaugurated, 50 stories. I will make 6 more. Since 2007, there have been 61 new high-rise condos. Is that rotting?” he said, visibly incensed.
Lim went on to cite his achievements.
“They keep on criticizing us because they have nothing to show. For us, we will focus on what we’ve done. Manila is the only one with 6 hospitals out of 145 cities nationwide. We have two public colleges, no tuition. When [Manilenos are] sick, we have 6 hospitals, they don’t need to pay for doctors or rooms. If you’re a poor family, and you have no money for your medicine, the hospital will pay for it. That’s the type of services we give. We have 185 daycare centers. They have nothing to show to match what we’ve done, that’s why they criticize us,” he said.
The 83-year-old Lim is running under the ruling Liberal Party. A longtime ally of the Aquino family, he is endorsed by none other than President Benigno Aquino III, who is expected to exert all efforts to ensure his win in the country’s capital.
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A confident Lim emphasized the President’s endorsement, expressing optimism it would help him do well in May.
“Our character reference is President Noynoy, an incorruptible person, who doesn’t think of anything but how to serve the people honestly and doesn’t steal the money of the country. That’s a sure thing with President Noynoy like his mother [former President] Cory, who left us with clean and honest governance,” he said.
He compared his endorsement to that of his opponents, who he said was being supported by dubious characters.
“The others, they’re being endorsed by those convicted of crime and plunder. They are happy that those recommending them are the ones who use the country’s money? It’s probably because they’re also like that. That’s also what they’ll do. Birds of the same feather flock together.”
Estrada, Lim’s former ally, was ousted from the presidency in 2001 and convicted by the Sandiganbayan for plunder. He is one of the so-called “three kings” of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
His running mate, actor turned politician and current vice mayor Isko Moreno, shifted alliances from Lim to Estrada. Both Moreno and Estrada said they would focus on issues as well, but also attacked Lim in their rally.
Moreno was once an ally of Lim but last year switched sides to join Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), along with 29 city councilors. He said he made the move because Lim “played deaf” to the city’s problems.
Lim challenged his critics to prove their accusations, arguing he has no corruption cases against him unlike his political rival. – Rappler.com