MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Is the former president getting back at his political rival, whom he accuses of having backed bids to disqualify him?
Running for mayor of Manila, former President Joseph Estrada on Thursday, April 25, said he may file a disqualification case against his rival, incumbent Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Estrada said the case could stem from Lim's citizenship. He said there is no proof Lim was born in the Philippines.
“We cannot find any birth certificate, and he cannot produce one,” Estrada told reporters at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros, Manila.
The former president said it is not too late to have Lim disqualified, with 3 weeks more before elections. He said he will consult his lawyers about this. (Watch more in the video below.)
In a press conference last April 4, the former president's son, Sen Jinggoy Estrada, already brought up the citizenship issue against Lim. He said Lim "might be born somewhere else," because the National Statistics Office (NSO) does not keep Lim's birth certificate.
He contrasted Lim with Estrada, whose birth certificate was authenticated by the NSO.
Sen Estrada, however, said: "We will not file a disqualificatioin case, unlike him who filed 3 disqualification cases against my father."
Not the 1st time
This is not the first time that Lim's citizenship is being questioned. In 1998, when he ran for president, a disqualification was filed against him on the basis of his supposed questionable citizenship. The Supreme Court however was unable to decide on the merits of the case since Lim lost in that presidential race.
Is Estrada filing the disqualification complaint as a form of revenge?
Estrada replied: “No, no, no. Of course not... The people deserve to know what is really his citizenship. That should be falsification of public documents.”
At past noon, the former president went to the Comelec to receive a copy of a decision favorable to him. It was the denial – with finality – of the motion for reconsideration to disqualify him from running.
“Dirty Harry filed 3 disqualification cases against me, and they're all dismissed. This is the last one. I think this is the last of the dirty tricks that the incumbent, outgoing mayor would do,” Estrada said.
Lim, however, has consistenly denied he was behind the disqualification bids against Estrada. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.