Joseph Estrada gifting self at 78 with reelection bid
Like many promises heard from winning politicians in the May 2013 elections, one made by Joseph Estrada is set to be broken.
Two years after saying he would serve only one term as Manila mayor, Estrada on Tuesday said “I want to run for reelection” next year to finish the projects he had initiated, particularly beautification efforts for the country’s capital city.
The former President, who will turn 78 on April 19, revealed his plans for the 2016 polls when asked by reporters what his birthday wish would be.
“My birthday wish is to succeed in bringing back the old glory of Manila, for the city to be crowned the Pearl of the Orient once again,” he said. “If you ask me, I want to run for reelection as mayor so that I could finish bringing back the old glory of Manila.”
Estrada claimed that he didn’t have much room for implementing projects in the first half of his term and that he hoped to see the completion of his urban renewal projects.
Not much done
“I was not able to do anything in the first one and a half years of my term,” he said. “I inherited a bankrupt city and I had to raise our real property tax to pay off our P4-billion debt.”
He went on to cite what he considered his accomplishments so far: Raising local government revenues to pay off debts from the previous administration of Mayor Alfredo Lim, providing free healthcare for indigent residents, building more school buildings, and increasing the budget for barangays, among others.
Estrada said it was Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno who encouraged him to seek reelection.
Yet on the day he took his oath as mayor on May 14, 2013, Estrada said he would be serving only one term and then support Moreno’s bid to become his successor. He then told reporters: “I’m willing to give it to my vice mayor. He has proven himself as a councilor and as a vice mayor.”
But now, Estrada said he would endorse Moreno as a senatorial candidate under the ticket being prepared by the United Nationalist Alliance.
“He is a strong contender. The vice mayor has a good track record. Especially now, his projects have all been very successful,” Estrada said.
Moreno, whom Estrada had dubbed the city’s “traffic czar” for also being the head of the Traffic Management Committee, mainly oversees the deployment of traffic personnel and the operation of the city’s security camera network, among other projects.
For his second crack at the mayoralty, Estrada said he had yet to find a running mate. “There are several who have applied but we have yet to discuss it and I have yet to decide.”
Early in his mayoralty, Estrada was hounded by petitions that sought his disqualification from public office. The petitioners then maintained that he was barred from returning to government service under the terms of the pardon granted him by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shortly after he was convicted for plunder in 2007.
In January, Supreme Court justices voted 11-3 to dismiss the petitions.
After receiving pardon, Estrada placed second in the 2010 presidential race and finally completed his political comeback—albeit in the local government level—in 2013 when he won the mayoralty against the reelectionist Lim by about 35,000 votes.
While pushing heavily with urban renewal projects for Manila, Estrada’s administration still came under constant criticism for the pervading “ugliness” of the city.
He also drew flak for extending a truck ban that not only worsened traffic conditions in Metro Manila but also caused cargo congestion at the ports. The latter problem eventually required Malacañang’s intervention after business groups complained of costly delays in cargo movement.
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