Ex-president Estrada leans towards Manila’s mayoralty
MANILA FROM mayor to president to mayor again.
Former President Joseph Estrada is flirting with the idea of wrapping up his political career the way he started it: as mayor. But this time, he is eyeing the post in Manila where he was born, and not in San Juan where his family has already built a strong political bailiwick.
Estrada, who turns 75 on Thursday, said he has not made up his mind despite being “encouraged” by different sectors in Manila to seek the mayoralty.
He said he would make his decision known within the month, or a year before the 2013 midterm elections.
But the former president admitted that he has become more inclined to run for mayor.
“Before, it was 60/40, meaning I was 40 percent inclined to run. Now, it’s 50-50,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Filipino.
But the chances of Estrada throwing his hat in the mayoral race seemed much higher, given the way he discussed his plans for Manila “if ever I decide to run.” Estrada said he didn’t mind the idea of being “relegated” to a mayor when he had already occupied the highest position in the country.
He was elected president in 1998 but was removed by a military-backed people’s uprising amid allegations of corruption three years later.
“I’m not concerned about statures,” he said. “I don’t care if I was already a president.
I started my political career as a mayor. Who knows? I might end it as a mayor as well.” Noting that he was born in Manila, he said the city, particularly the tough neighbourhood of Tondo, had a “sentimental value” to him.
It was the setting of his first starring role “Asiong Salonga,” which launched his acting career and showed his star factor.
Estrada went on to become a household name among the poor for portraying on-screen characters championing the weak and the downtrodden.
“I want to reciprocate with the people of Manila considering their support for me all these years,” he said.
Estrada said he would prefer to become an “underdog” just like in the movies, if he ran.
The 2013 mayoral race would pit him against incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim, a tough-talking expoliceman dubbed Manila’s Dirty Harry.
“I’m more used to uphill battles,” he said. “I prefer to be an underdog. It’s more challenging.” Estrada said he also “likes the idea” of Vice President Jejomar Binay occupying Malacañang in 2016 and himself serving as mayor of Manila, where the Palace is located, at the same time.
“It would be good. I could easily bring to his attention all the problems of Manila, particularly housing,” he said.
Binay was Estrada’s running mate during his unsuccessful second run for the presidency in 2010.
Just recently, their respective political parties joined forces to form the United Nationalist Alliance coalition.
Estrada lamented that Manila had been “left behind” by areas such as Makati, Taguig, and Quezon City.
“It’s sad because Manila is the capital city. It’s supposed to be a showcase city.
It needs urban renewal,” he said.