Estrada may benefit from Aquino-Villar mudslinging, says son
By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Re-electionist Sen. Jinggoy Estrada says his father, deposed President Joseph Estrada, could emerge the winner in the mudslinging between leading presidential candidates Sen. Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Manuel Villar.
Jinggoy Estrada, the incumbent Senate president pro tempore, has expressed confidence in Joseph Estrada’s recent modest increase in his survey ratings while Aquino and Villar exchange barbs over who the secret administration candidate is between them.
“[It’s a] good sign. It means one is going down while we are going up,” Jinggoy Estrada said of the most recent Social Weather Stations survey that showed his father gaining four percentage points and Villar slipping by six.
“Besides, the two candidates are hitting each other…. Well, hopefully, we’ll emerge the winner,” the senator told reporters on the campaign trail recently.
While Joseph Estrada is closing in on second placer Villar, he remains in third place in the surveys conducted by the SWS and Pulse Asia.
With President Macapagal-Arroyo’s endorsement reportedly being a “kiss of death” for a presidential candidate, Aquino and Villar’s camps have accused each other of being allied with the administration.
The allegation that Villar is the secret candidate of the Arroyo administration was fanned over the Lenten holidays by Lakas-Kampi standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro’s resignation as party chair.
Teodoro is in fourth place in the pre-election surveys.
Nacionalista Party stalwarts defended Villar from the accusation and charged Aquino’s Liberal Party of concocting the report of the Arroyos’ rumored support for Villar.
The NP also charged that it was Aquino who has relatives and friends in Ms Arroyo’s government.
Joseph Estrada, however, would not want to be dragged into the fray.
He has acknowledged hearing talk about Villar being the secret candidate of the administration but withheld any comment.
“I want to conduct my campaign on a high level,” Joseph Estrada said.