Estrada: 1 term for me and it’s Moreno’s turn | Inquirer News

Estrada: 1 term for me and it’s Moreno’s turn

A victory hug for Manila’s next big boss NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Around 11 p.m. Monday night, Joseph Estrada called for a press conference at his Sta. Mesa residence in Manila, with a huge painting of City Hall serving as backdrop. Less than four hours after the canvassing for the mayoralty race began, the place started to smell victory.

Later, the former president excused himself from the living room crowd, retreated to the master bedroom, and, according to aides, went deep into prayer. Meanwhile, a press release was being drafted, already addressing Estrada as “mayor-elect.”


It may not be as glorious as 1998, when he won the presidency by a landslide. But clinching the mayoralty in Manila against the formidable reelectionist Alfredo Lim may be sweeter in many ways, considering what he’d been through: Ousted from Malacañang in 2001, jailed for six years, convicted of plunder and pardoned by his successor.


This time, as he earlier predicted in jest, it was a “landscape” victory. The pun was quite appropriate for a political kingpin returning to local politics and citing urban renewal as one of his priorities.

At the press conference, with hours still to go before his proclamation, Estrada said he would serve only one term as Manila mayor and support his running mate, the reelected Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, to be his successor in 2016.


“I’m willing to give it to my vice mayor. He has proven himself as a councilor and as a vice mayor. He knows the ins and outs of the problems of Manila. He came from the poor and he has the heart of the poor,” he said.

He said the latest battle he waged, its scale a mere fraction of the 1998 and 2010 campaigns (the last placing him second in the presidential derby), was “very personalized. It’s hard work, but it’s all worth it.”

At 76, Estrada has often talked about cementing his “legacy” during the campaign against Lim. But many see his political comeback as an expansion of his political dynasty, from his bailiwick San Juan where his family had been entrenched in power since 1969, to the capital city where he relocated only in May last year to meet the residency requirement for candidates.

He admitted that a defeat in Manila would “affect” the political careers of his sons, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and his half-brother San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito (the latter so far in the Magic 12 in the early poll tabulations for the Senate race).

Yet in the same breath, he maintained that a high-recall surname is not enough: “The bottom line is elections are still about the will of the people.”

“Ibabalik ko ang sigla ng Maynila (I will restore the vitality of  Manila),” he said after the city board of canvassers on Tuesday proclaimed him winner in one of the most bitterly fought contests in the midterm elections.

Flanked by wife, Loi, son Jinggoy, daughter Jackie and other children, Estrada thanked Manileños for what he called “the victory of the Filipino masses.”

Estrada won with 343,993 votes over Lim who got 308,544. Moreno was proclaimed winner with 395,156 votes over Lim’s No. 2, Councilor Lou Veloso, who got 234,256.

Estrada and Lim—one-time allies during the former’s short-lived presidency—traded allegations of cheating during the voting period Monday but showed none of that rancor down the stretch.

At the first few hours of the canvassing Monday night, Lim arrived at the canvassing center to find the initial results favoring Estrada.

Estrada’s daughter Jackie was there and extended him a greeting, to which an affable Lim replied: “O, leading ang papa mo.”

The next morning, Lim’s camp called for a press conference but later cancelled it. Reporters waiting at City Hall were told that Lim had already left after officiating a wedding.

Lim ran under the ruling Liberal Party, with President Aquino strongly vowing support for his projects should he be reelected.

With Estrada now taking over, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said: “The President and Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada are good friends. Their families have remained good friends in spite of being affiliated with different political parties.”

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“On a personal level, the President and Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada are in good terms. I have never seen a situation where the President and Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada (were in conflict). They have always been in good terms, so I see no reason why Manila City Hall and Malacañang could not work together,” Lacierda said in a press briefing.—With a report from Michael Lim Ubac, Catherine Carvajal and Camille Anne Lim

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