Estrada: What dynasty? Let the people decide
Deposed President Joseph Estrada said his family should not be criticized for going after elective positions because “the final decision is still with the people.”
“It’s the people who will decide, that’s democracy. It’s not like we’re employing guns, goons and gold to win seats. We leave it to the voters,” he said.
Estrada and his extended family have made San Juan their political bailiwick after his first mayoral victory there more than 30 years ago. He was succeeded at the post by his sons, Jose “Jinggoy” and JV, and his mistress, Guia Gomez, JV’s mother, who is now the incumbent.
Jinggoy is a sitting senator and JV could end up joining him in the 16th Congress if JV wins in 2013. JV is running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), whose slate also includes Nancy Binay, the daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Rep. Jack Enrile, the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Estrada, who is running for mayor of Manila, is not at all bothered that UNA, which he co-leads, has a parade of relatives of sitting politicians on its senatorial slate.
He does not see a problem with political power in the country being concentrated among a few families, a major concern of groups campaigning against political dynasties.
“It’s important to look at the track record. Families who do not serve the public well will not get votes in the next election. In my case, I have nothing in my mind anymore but to protect our name and leave a legacy,” he said.
Having a family member succeed another one also has its advantages, he said. It helps ensure “continuity” of projects, which are “often disrupted when a new administration takes over,” he said.
He is so confident of his vote-getting prowess that he boasts detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not be able to duplicate his feat of making his wife, Loi, and son, Jinggoy, win Senate seats while he was in jail.
He dared Arroyo to field her husband, Jose Miguel, and son, Juan Miguel, in next May’s elections.
“See what will happen. Let’s see if they win,” he said in Filipino.
The younger Arroyo is a party-list congressman representing Ang Galing Pinoy, a group purporting to represent security guards that had been disqualified by the Commission on Elections.
Nor was the ruling Liberal Party, of which President Aquino is the titular head, spared criticism about political dynasties. The LP senatorial slate includes Mr. Aquino’s cousin, Bam, and reelectionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, whose sister Pia is an incumbent senator. Mr. Aquino’s aunt, Ting Ting Cojuangco is running for senator with UNA.
Rep. Cynthia Villar, the wife of outgoing Sen. Manuel Villar, is also on the administration slate. Mr. Aquino and Senator Villar waged a bitter campaign against each other in the 2010 presidential election.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.