Erap endorses Grace; Binays rally in Makati
THE CIRCUS came to Manila, Makati and other cities and towns across the country Monday, with former President and reelectionist Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada endorsing Sen. Grace Poe for the presidential race.
At Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, entertainers did impersonations of Estrada, a rival of Alfredo Lim, who is seeking a return to City Hall for a fifth term.
“Forgive me, Mayor Lim, I’m all bluster. I came here to tell the people to vote for you instead,” said a member of the Pakyaw duo, eliciting most laughs from the crowd at the rally of the Liberal Party (LP).
The duo also impersonated former President Fidel Ramos and the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), father of Grace, a rival of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
Over at Liwasang Bonifacio, Estrada endorsed his goddaughter, Senator Poe, during his proclamation rally, ending months of stalling whether he would support Poe or Vice President Jejomar Binay, his “kumpare,” in the presidential election.
“She’s a good and trustworthy person like her father [who ran for President in 2004]. His dearest child wants to continue what he started … the next President will be Sen. Grace Poe,” Estrada said before an orange-clad crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000.
Poe in return thanked her “ninong” (godfather) for the endorsement. Then, to the crowd’s delight, Poe kidded Estrada for giving her the well-coveted support.
“Ninong tell me the truth, did you support me because you were afraid that daddy might haunt you?” Poe said in jest, sending the crowd and Estrada to burst into laughter.
“Thank you for choosing me. I know it’s not an easy choice. I will not disappoint you,” Poe added.
Twerking in Makati
In Makati City, the complete slate of mayoral candidate Mar-Len Abigail “Abby” Binay danced to the hits “Twerk it Like Miley” and “Watch Me Nae Nae,” entertaining some 40,000 people at the junction of Chino Roces Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Vito Cruz Extension for their proclamation rally.
Abby Binay, a representative of Makati’s second district, is a daughter of Vice President Binay.
Members of her family Monday night sought not only their return to Makati City but also for their patriarch to lead the nation as the next President.
The Binay family came in full force for Abby, led by her mother former Mayor Dr. Elenita, sister Senator Nancy, and brother and dismissed Mayor Junjun.
In his speech, the Vice President reminded the audience of his long service as mayor of Makati and how the city was the first local government unit to provide benefits to the poor and senior citizens via free medicine and health insurance.
As mayor, he said he improved the lives of Makati residents and as Vice President, he proved his leadership by heading the government’s housing programs.
“Please tell everyone that they will not be sorry if they vote for me for President because of my wide experience in governance,” the elder Binay said.
Introducing his daughter, the Vice President said Abby was his favorite daughter. “We love you very much Makati. Don’t leave us,” an emotional Binay told the crowd after he joined his daughter in rendering a song titled “Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan (How can I thank you.)”
Also endorsing Abby was her brother, who told the crowd of her dedication to serve the city.
Speaking on stage, Junjun said it was not easy for either of them to make the decision for her to run for mayor in his stead.
Junjun was dismissed as mayor by the Ombudsman in connection with anomalies at the Makati Science High School. The Ombudsman has since ordered his perpetual dismissal from public office, this time in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.
Junjun said he was a “victim” of his father’s political foes, narrating how his family has been persecuted.
Lim for Roxas
The 86-year-old Lim, whose crime-busting exploits as a former National Bureau of Investigation director earned him the moniker “Dirty Harry,” formally declared his support for the LP tandem of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.
President Aquino graced the early evening LP proclamation rally that drew hundreds of Manila residents in yellow, waving banners and balloons, to the square fronting the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.
In his speech, the President took the occasion to criticize the rivals of Roxas, his chosen successor, skewering Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for his trigger-happy remarks, Poe for her inexperience, and Binay for the corruption charges he was facing.
“As the father of the people, it is my responsibility to present to you who deserves to be your next leader, someone who made sacrifice for your sake… That is Mar Roxas,” Mr. Aquino said.
“If the other candidates are laden with controversy, he offers his experience and skills,” he said. “If we want to continue on ‘daang matuwid (straight path), we must choose Mar and Leni (Robredo),” he said.
During his speech, Lim took the occasion to attack Estrada, to whom he lost the mayor’s seat in their last face-off in 2013.
“We’ve had 15 Presidents. Of our 15 Presidents, who was convicted of plunder?” he asked the crowd. When they yelled ‘Erap!’ in answer, Lim said: “You are so good at history.”
Lim said Estrada was a far cry from the incumbent President.
“But our President, Benigno S. Aquino III, was never once involved in corruption. He has fought for clean and honest governance, something he inherited from his mother, President Cory Aquino,” he said.
“He will be succeeded by Mar Roxas, who has no record of corruption, no theft of public coffers,” he said.
Emblazoned across the awning of the makeshift stage was a streamer that embodied the campaign theme of the LP-led “Daang Matuwid coalition: “Huwag kang magnakaw. Huwag kang magsinungaling (Do not steal. Do not lie).”
In San Juan City, Vice Mayor Francis Zamora kicked off his mayoralty bid in a star-studded affair at a basketball court in the city’s Barangay Kabayanan.
Journey lead vocalist Arnel Pineda and international singing sensation Charice led the lineup of stars who entertained Zamora’s supporters at his proclamation rally Monday.
Other stars present were Dennis Padilla and Candy Pangilinan, who served as program hosts at the venue, seen by most as a nod to Zamora’s beginnings as a Philippine Basketball Association player.
Zamora is facing off with erstwhile political ally Mayor Guia Gomez, who is seeking reelection for her third and final term.
The two broke ties last year after Zamora alleged that Gomez and the Ejercito-Estrada clan dumped him and his father, San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, in favor of Councilor Janella Estrada and former Councilor Jana Ejercito, who are now running for vice mayor and congresswoman, respectively.
Gomez is a former partner of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who is Janella’s grandfather and Jana’s uncle. The Ejercito-Estrada clan has been at the helm of City Hall since 1969, when the former President became the then municipality’s mayor.
Estrada’s sons—Senators Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito—also became San Juan mayors from 1992 to 2010. Their rule in San Juan was interrupted from 1986 to 1992, when Adolfo Sto. Domingo served as mayor.
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