Erap says he’s for Gibo
By Charlie Lagasca
The Philippine Star
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya , Philippines – Former President Joseph Estrada disclosed here over the weekend that if he was not running for president he would vote for administration presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr.
Estrada, presidential bet of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, cited Teodoro’s brilliance and ability to lead the nation.
“My only edge (over Teodoro) is my popularity and vast experience (in public service) while Gibo has the makings of a great leader,” he said.
He said that he is open to talk with Teodoro for a possible alliance of their camps.
“We are open to talks with Secretary Teodoro if he wants to. Our doors are open to whoever is willing to work with us,” he said.
Estrada, however, stressed that as of now there are no direct or indirect talks between his camp and Teodoro’s group.
Presidential surveys show Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III still in the lead, followed by Nacionalista Party (NP) bet Manuel Villar, Estrada in third place and Teodoro a distant fourth.
Estrada said that he would benefit from the ongoing word war and mudslinging between Aquino and Villar.
He said that for more than 40 years as a politician, he never engaged in below-the-belt statements against his opponents.
“I don’t have things like that. My campaign is high level. I don’t engage in personal attacks,” Estrada said.
Estrada, who turned 73 yesterday, said the mudslinging between Aquino and Villar would discourage people from voting for them.
As part of his annual birthday celebration, Estrada went to Payatas where he had lunch with poor residents.
“They are mudslinging. The people will be turned off. I will benefit from that one way or the other. The true issue here is that the true opposition is the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP),” Estrada said.
Estrada said the members of the NP and LP are among those who joined EDSA Dos that ousted him and installed President Arroyo as president in 2001.
“The NP and LP joined together in EDSA Dos. The standard-bearer of NP (Villar) was the one who banged the gavel in Congress for the transmission of the impeachment complaint against me although it had not passed through the House committee on justice yet. He railroaded the transmission of the impeachment case against me to the Senate,” Estrada said.
Estrada said former Senate president Franklin Drilon, then president of LP, was among those who raised the hand of Arroyo as the new president of the Philippines during EDSA Dos.
He said that big businessmen are no longer helping him in his campaign because they learned their lesson, that they cannot get any help from an Estrada administration specially if what’s at stake are the interests of the government and the majority of Filipinos. With Jose Rodel Clapano