MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked a bid to disqualify former President Joseph Estrada from running for Manila mayor, clearing the last threat to his candidacy.
The Comelec second division dismissed for “utter lack (of) merit” the disqualification case against Estrada.
In the Comelec case, petitioners argued that Estrada may not run for public office because the pardon he got from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo prohibited this.
Junking the case, the second division cited the Comelec’s standing pronouncement “declaring categorically that respondent’s right to seek public office has been effectively restored by the pardon vested upon him by former President Gloria M Arroyo.”
Last March 4, the Manila Regional Trial Court dismissed the second to the last disqualification case against Estrada. (Read: Court says Erap can run for Manila mayor.)
Estrada’s lawyer, Frank Chavez, earlier argued that the Comelec is bound by its 2010 ruling that allowed Estrada to run for president again.
Heated battle vs Lim
Running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Estrada is waging a heated battle against incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim, a candidate under President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party.
The two camps have even resorted to name-calling.
In the rally to launch his reelection, Lim called Estrada a liar, drunk, and plunderer, referring to accusations that led to Estrada’s ouster from the presidency. (Watch the video report below.)
Estrada, for his part, criticized Manila’s decay under Lim. Estrada said he, along with his running mate Isko Moreno, will work to resurrect the city. (Watch the video report below.)
– with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com