Estrada scolds Maceda; LP warns of ‘Arroyo option’
By Philip Tubeza, Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Be careful what you wish for.
Former President Joseph Estrada Thursday said he scolded former Sen. Ernesto Maceda for coming up with that “kalokohan (nonsense)”.
Maceda, Estrada’s campaign manager, said on Tuesday that supporting Estrada may be the Arroyo administration’s “only option” if it wants to prevent an Aquino victory.
He came out with the scenario to explain how Estrada could still overtake Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, a consistent front-runner in the major surveys of presidential contenders.
Estrada would be sinking his own ship if he’s open to an alliance with the Arroyo administration just to boost his chances against the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer.
LP director general Chito Gascon Thursday had this bit of advice for Estrada, in effect telling the 73-year-old opposition leader to junk the Maceda suggestion.
Gascon said the widespread unpopularity of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would spell doom for any presidential candidate she would support.
He cited as an example the falling survey numbers of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar, who had been rumored early in the campaign season to be Ms Arroyo’s “secret candidate” and not administration candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro. The Villar and Arroyo camps had denied forging an alliance.
“Now that a clear win by Senator Noy is imminent, it could very well be logical for this unrepentant regime to swing their support to former President Estrada in an anybody-but-Noynoy game plan,” Gascon said in a statement.
“But we all know that an Arroyo endorsement will only bring down Estrada and help the chances of Sen. Villar instead, so I don’t think this last card, a Plan C, is going to play out on May 10,” he said.
In an Inquirer interview, an angry Estrada said he immediately confronted Maceda after reading about the latter’s statement.
“How can that be! It irritates me just to hear that name (of the President),” Estrada said in Filipino.
“She grabbed power and then threw me in jail,” said Estrada, who was ousted in a people power uprising in 2001, detained for six years, and convicted of plunder in 2007. His successor, Ms Arroyo, granted him pardon a month after his conviction.
Estrada said Maceda issued the statement without his clearance, and that his chief campaigner probably thought he could do that because “he is older than me.”
The day the story came out, text messages began circulating claiming that Estrada—not Villar—was now Malacañang’s “pet” in the presidential derby. Estrada dismissed these as black propaganda.
‘She almost ruined my life’
“Maybe it’s Maceda-Arroyo,” he said, and not really “Villarroyo,” the buzzword coined by critics to describe the alleged Villar-Arroyo partnership.
Estrada said it would be “impossible” for him to accept help from someone whom he had been denouncing in his campaign speeches as one of the conspirators behind his ouster from Malacañang.
“I might as well lose than join her. She almost ruined my life,” he said.