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MANILA, Philippines – Long-time politicians in the city of Manila declared support for opposition candidates former President Joseph Estrada and re-electionist Vice Mayor Isko Moreno on Thursday, March 14.
5th District Representative Amado Bagatsing and former Mayor Lito Atienza, once supportive of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), gathered supporters in Pandacan to endorse the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bets against re-electionist Mayor Alfredo Lim and Councilor Lou Veloso.
Estrada was inducted as honorary chairman of the Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran (Kabaka), an organization founded by Bagatsing. The congressman and his son, Councilor Don Juan “DJ” Bagatsing, bolted the LP to seek re-election under UNA.
“Ang programa ng Kabaka at ni Pangulong Estrada ay tumutugon sa simulain at adhikain na matulungan at maiangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga mahihirap na mamamayan ng Lungsod ng Maynila,” Congressman Bagatsing said.
“Marami pa ang susunod na maglilipat someday (Expect more people to switch sides),” Moreno told reporters in the event.
Kabaka boasts 100,000 members. The event was attended by more than 1,000 leaders waving placards supporting Estrada and Moreno's bid for top local posts.
Unlike previous public appearances, Estrada did not verbally attack Lim after Wednesday's intense debate at the University of the Philippines-Manila. Estrada neither presented concrete plans for the city. “Alam n'yo naman na ang mga programa ko (You already know what my programs are),” he said.
In a press release, Estrada said he aims to create programs for “job creation and livelihood; peace and order, education; women empowerment; child protection and development; stop AIDS/HIV and TB; globally competitive markets; seaport and tourism; transparent tax collection and public expenditures; clean and green spaces and solid waste management; and disaster resiliency.”
Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza also graced the event and showed support for Estrada's bid for mayoral post. He told Rappler he was dismayed how Lim has been running the city.
“The Pandacan Oil Depot was supposed to be relocated during may term, but they passed an ordinace [preventing it],” Atienza said. He also added that crime was not as rampant in the University Belt when he was still the mayor of the city.
Atienza told Rappler in an earlier interview that he originally wanted to run for mayor again, but gave way to Estrada so as not to split the opposition vote against Lim.
Lim and Estrada are facing off for the second time in the political arena. In the 1998 Presidential Elections, Estrada bested Lim, who placed fifth in the polls. – Rappler.com
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