“Erap lawyer wants to legalize ‘jueteng’ in Manila.”
An emailed statement to the Inquirer bearing this title, one with a potential to kick up a storm against former president and now Manila mayor-elect Joseph Estrada, came from the address email@example.com on Thursday. It even gave the supposed contact number of his spokesperson.
When asked for verification, Estrada’s spokesperson Ike Gutierrez only had this conclusion: Somebody’s “dirty tricks” department from the recent elections is still very much at work.
Gutierrez on Friday denied having issued such a statement which claimed that Estrada was “planning to legalize jueteng in Manila to generate funds for the bankrupt city.”
The same statement also claimed that one of Estrada’s advisers, lawyer Edward Serapio, was studying the possibility of allowing the illegal numbers game in three of Manila’s six districts.
Serapio was a coaccused in Estrada’s six-year plunder trial that followed his ouster from Malacañang in 2001. Estrada was convicted but later pardoned, while Serapio was acquitted.
“We know where these dirty tricks are coming from. Let them be reminded that the people have spoken. Let us just work together for the good of Manila,” Gutierrez said.
Citing another case of disinformation, he recalled that residents of Baseco in Manila’s Tondo area trooped to Estrada’s residence in Sta. Mesa two weeks ago, saying they were told by “certain barangay officials” that they could get some money if they present his campaign posters from the recent elections.