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Absence at UNA launch does not mean support for Poe, says Estrada

But ex-president still contemplating who to support in 2016
/ 11:26 PM July 01, 2015

After being notably absent during the official launch of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Wednesday, former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his non-appearance would not mean automatic support for potential presidential candidate and his goddaughter Sen. Grace Poe.

“Hindi naman. Hindi dahil hindi ako pumunta, si Senator Grace Poe ang susuportahan ko (It does’t follow that my absence in the [UNA launch] means I am supporting Senator Grace Poe) ,” Estrada said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

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But Estrada, one of UNA’s so-called three pillars alongside newly elected chairman Binay and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, said he would still study whom to support in the 2016 presidential elections.

“Pag-aaralan ko kung sino ang susuportahan ko dun sa dalawa eh, ‘yung isa kumpare ko, ‘yung isa inaanak ko. Titignan ko kung sino ang mas makakatulong sa nakakarami (I will study well who will I support between the two. One is my good pal, the other is my goddaughter),” he said, noting that platforms would be a factor in his consideration.

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UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said the former president’s absence at the launch was not a setback to the opposition party, adding that the Vice President and Estrada will always be good friends.

“I don’t think si Presidente Erap ay pababayaan niya si Vice President Binay,” Ilagan said in an interview with reporters.

Ilagan also denied speculations that Estrada was reluctant in backing Binay, who trailed behind Poe in recent presidential polls.

“Reluctance? Hindi naman siguro. Medyo nagko-contemplate lang muna si [Estrada]. And I think the one who can solve this kung saka-sakaling reluctant siya o may konting, sabihin natin na, tampo o pag-iwas ng konti​,​ it is only the Vice President,” he said.

Ilagan cited Estrada’s friendship with Senator Poe’s father, the late Fernando Poe Jr., and a possibility of the Manila mayor seeking another presidential bid as factors in the latter’s contemplation.

But Ilagan said there would be no hard feelings in the event that Estrada decided to support Poe or other potential candidates in the presidential elections.

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“Betrayal? In politics kasi there’s no permanent enemy. Walang permanenteng kalaban, walang permanenteng kaaway. What is more important is that, if you want to win, the Vice President wants to win in this election, then he should talk to everybody, convince everybody in his good programs. After all, politics is politics,” he said. TVJ

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Binay, Erap, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Joseph Estrada, Mon Ilagan, presidential elections, UNA, United Nationalist Alliance
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