Erap asked to withdraw from 2010 race
By Jose Rodel Clapano
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Joseph Estrada revealed yesterday that some presidential candidates had offered to reimburse his campaign expenses if he withdraws from the presidential race.
Speaking over dzBB radio, the standard-bearer of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino said he will not abandon his son, Jinggoy and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who are both seeking re-election as senators under the PMP banner.
“I am running to fulfill my promise to the Filipino people of uplifting their lives,” he said.
“Not all can be bought. There are some friends of theirs (presidential candidates) who told me that they would reimburse my expenses in the campaign. I turned them down. I cannot sell my principles.”
Estrada did not identify the presidential candidates who approached him.
If given another mandate, he will prioritize three items: peace and order, food security and ending graft and corruption, he added.
Estrada said he will not lift a finger if President Arroyo is charged in court after she steps down on June 30.
“For me, should there be a case, let it be filed and I will not intervene,” he said.
Estrada said he will respect the judiciary’s independence and allow the courts to independently try Mrs. Arroyo.
“We must give the judiciary independence to handle the case and let her (Mrs. Arroyo) go through due process,” he said.
Estrada told dzBB he is the only “true opposition” among the 10 presidential candidates in the May 10 elections.
“Ask the other candidates,” he said.
“They joined (President) Arroyo in 2001. I’m the only true opposition. They are part of EDSA Dos.”
Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III and Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar Jr. cannot claim that they are true-blooded opposition, he added.
One of the presidential candidates banged the gavel to railroad his impeachment at the House of Representatives in 2000, Estrada said.
Estrada said if elected president again, he does not need to appoint people from his presidential rivals.
“I am very proud of my Cabinet,” he said.
“They are all clean and they are still intact. They created a Task Force during my incarceration to review all the contracts entered during my administration, but they have not found any anomalous transactions during my term.”
Erap: There was no midnight Cabinet
Estrada said he did not preside over a “midnight Cabinet” when he was president, as alleged in the media.
“But it’s true that we work late because we are discussing the problems of the country then,” he said.
Estrada said since he became President in 1998, he would wake up at 6 a.m. and exercise.
“The elite have conspired for my ouster,” he said. “They also fed lies to the public from day one of my presidency.”
Estrada said he was imprisoned for six years and a half, although government prosecutors failed to prove that he stole a single centavo from government coffers.
“I left Malacañang, not because of fear but because I know that there will be bloodshed and I don’t want that to happen.”
Estrada said he had stopped drinking hard liquor when he was elected vice president in 1992.
“I just drink wine,” he said.