MANILA, Philippines – Erap still has it.
Despite its differences with former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Malacanang on Thursday, July 2, still acknowledged him as a formidable figure in politics.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said Estrada has an incomparable influence, after having been a president and mayor of the country’s capital. He pointed out that Estrada was the runner-up to President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 presidential elections – all these despite being ousted in 2001 and imprisoned until 2007.
“Hindi maaaring tawaran ang kahalagahan ng opinyon ng isang naging pangulo ng Pilipinas, dahil iilan lang naman ang nakatamo ng pinakamataas na posisyon na 'yan. Kung ang pagbabatayan ay 'yung mga aktuwal na realidad pampulitika, pansinin natin na noong 2010 si Pangulong Joseph Ejercito Estrada ang pumangalawa kay Pangulong Aquino, at ‘nung hinangad niya ‘yung maging alkalde ay nanalo siya. Kaya siguro malinaw naman na mayroong impluwensya si Pangulong Estrada,” Coloma said.
(The opinion of somebody who became president of the Philippines is incomparable because only a few have reached that position. If we base our answer on political realities, it can be noted [former] President Joseph Ejercito Estrada came in second after President Aquino in 2010. When he aimed for the mayorship [of Manila], he also won. It is very clear that President Estrada has an influence.)
Estrada ran with Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010, while Aquino teamed up with Roxas. Although only Binay has made an official announcement that he's seeking the presidency, Roxas is also seen as a top contender in the 2016 elections.
Estrada’s support in 2016?
Estrada was a no-show at the launch of Binay's party, the United Nationalist Alliance, on Wednesday, July 1. This comes as a new development, as Binay and Erap were allies in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
Erap clarified that his absence from the UNA launch should not be misinterpreted as a refusal to support the candidacy of Binay.
He, however, earlier said that he was unsure who between Binay and Senator Grace Poe he would support in 2016.
Malacañang, however, refused to comment on the possibility of getting Estrada to support the administration candidate in 2016.
Estrada's son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, is detained for his alleged involvement in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
The younger Estrada hit the administration for alleged political persecution and misuse of discretionary funds. (READ: Jinggoy: P50M for each convict-Corona vote) – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org