ER Ejercito leaves Laguna capitol
MANILA, Philippines—Disqualified Laguna governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito left the provincial capitol on Friday morning but assured his supporters that their fight will not stop there.
Reiterating his stand during an earlier speech at the Laguna Capitol, Ejercito said that he would be the province’s governor “now and forever” and said “hintayin po ninyo ang pagbabalik ng agila!”
The crowd went emotional as Ejercito left with his uncle, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who came in Laguna Capitol in Sta. Cruz town to support him as he continued to contest his disqualification for overspending in the 2013 elections.
“Mga kababayan, para sa katahimikan at kapayapaan ng ating bayan, ako po ay pinakiusapan ng ating mahal na pangulo na pansamantalang bumaba para maiwasan ang gulo at may masaktan,” he said.
(My compatriots, for the peace and order in our province, our beloved (former) president (Estrada) has requested me to temporarily leave my post to avoid chaos and so that no one will be hurt.)
Ejercito also asked his supporters to wait for the final decision of the Supreme Court on June 17 when it releases its decision on the status quo ante order his camp filed.
Before facing the crowd and leaving the capitol grounds, Ejercito and Estrada talked for about 20 minutes in a closed-door meeting.
It was followed by a speech from Estrada, who told his nephew “Governor, sumama ka na sa akin. Bumaba na tayo… Sigurado ako papanigan ka ng taong bayan.”
(Governor, come with me. Let’s step down. I am sure the people will support you.)
Estrada, who was previously ousted as President, consoled Ejercito, saying they will make a comeback.
“Kumandidato ako bilang mayor ng Maynila, nakabalik ako… Lalaban pa tayo,” he said.
(I ran for Manila mayor. I was able to make a comeback. We will fight.)
Before he was elected as Manila mayor, Estrada was found guilty of committing plunder and was put behind bars for seven years.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on May 21 affirmed Ejercito’s disqualification for overspending during the May 2013 elections. He tried to appeal his case before the Supreme Court (SC), but the high court did not grant his request for a temporary restraining order on the deadline set by the Comelec.
This paved the way for erstwhile vice governor Ramil Hernandez to assume Laguna’s top local post on Tuesday, May 27.
Since Tuesday, Ejercito and his supporters have stayed at the capitol. On Wednesday, the Department of Interior and Local Government has served him his eviction order.
Ejercito maintained that his decision to leave is temporary. He said he will wait for the decision of the SC to settle the controversy.
Carlos Dolendo, in a phone interview, Ejercito’s chief of staff, said that his departure from the office did not mean that he was giving up the fight for the governor’s seat.
Dolendo said they were surprised by Ejercito’s decision to physically vacate the governor’s office because Estrada was just there supposedly to visit his nephew but later “convinced” the governor to leave instead.