Villar 'desperate' for using own mom, says Erap

Villar ‘desperate’ for using own mom, says Erap

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Joseph Estrada on Tuesday branded as an “act of desperation” Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar’s move to use his own mother to defend himself from allegations that he is corrupt.

Estrada, who is running for re-election under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino banner, said he purposely shielded his mother, Doña Mary Ejercito, from all negative reports about him during his impeachment trial in December 2000.

“It happened  to me also during the impeachment. In fact, ang ginawa ko at ng mga kapatid ko,wag pakita sa mama ko yung tv. Kakaunti na lang panahon niya? Bakit ko sasaktan kalooban ng nanay ko? Bakit bibigyan ng sama ng loob,” he said in a ANC “Headstart” interview.

He added: “In my opinion, it’s a desperate move, parang desperado. Bakit pati magulang mo isasama mo? Dadagdagan mo pa ng sama ng loob yung magulang mo eh ang tanda na. Kasama na sa departure area.”

Estrada’s mother passed away at the age of 103 last January 13, 2009.

On Monday, Villar’ 86-year-old mother, Curita, faced the media for the first time to defend her son from her critics.

Nanay Curing Villar, as she is fondly called, said she felt helpless after hearing reports that her son is being accused of being corrupt. “Umiiyak lang ako sa sama ng loob. Tutulo na lang bigla ang luha ko,” she said.

She said Villar is a good, honest man who wants nothing more than to serve the poor. Their own poverty fueled Villar’s passion to help the poor, she said.

Villar’s sisters, Baby Villar-Benedicto and Vicky Devenagracia, also lashed out at ABS-CBN News and GMA 7 for allegedly being biased against the NP bet, whose ratings have dropped in the most recent surveys of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

‘Nothing personal vs Villar’

For his part, Estrada said he has nothing personal against Villar despite the latter’s role in elevating the impeachment case against the then-president to the Senate. Villar was former Speaker of the House of Representatives during the impeachment of President Estrada.

Estrada said he has already forgiven Villar for the act but added that he had a duty to tell the people the truth about the former House Speaker and Senate President.

Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile have accused Villar of using his influence to pressure members of the Philippine Stock Exchange Board board so he can illegally profit from the public listing of his company’s shares in 2007.  Villar has denied the accusation.

“I don’t have the intention of mudslinging any of my opponents but as a former president and as a citizen, I have to inform the public about what’s really behind all these candidates,” he said.

Estrada also branded former Securities and Exchange Commission Perfecto Yasay Jr. a liar for saying that Estrada ordered him to stop the investigation on the Best World Resources stock manipulation scandal. He said that instead of stopping the investigation, he actually told Yasay to expedite it.

Willing to lose

The former president, meanwhile, said he has made great gains in the presidential race as shown by recent pre-election surveys. He said his own survey showed that he has overtaken Villar for 2nd place and is only 10 percentage points behind frontrunner Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party.

During the interview, Estrada also said that he is willing to accept a loss from Aquino or Villar in the May 10 polls.

“Why not? Vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Kaya nga galit ang Diyos sa atin,” he said, adding that the voice of the majority was not heard when he was illegally ousted during EDSA II.

Estrada declined to answer when asked who he would endorse if he had not decided to run for president. He confessed, however, that he admires Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats candidate Gilbet Teodoro for being articulate and intelligent and for his experiences as a former congressman and defense secretary.

He also said he has decided to change his campaign color to tangerine after a dispute with Villar over the use of the color orange for the campaign. Asked what was different between the colors tangerine and orange, he replied: “Different ang spelling.”   With reports from Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak; and Cherry Anne M. Mungcal, abs-cbnNEWS.com Halalan Volunteer

Erap says he's for Gibo

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

Estrada ‘exposes’ self, provides comic relief

Estrada ‘exposes’ self, provides comic relief
By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer

KANANGA, LEYTE—Who needs Willie Revillame and Dolphy when you can provide the entertainment yourself?

Former President Joseph Estrada Tuesday brought the house down at Kananga Central Elementary School here when he turned an otherwise embarrassing situation around and got the audience guffawing.

Estrada, a former movie star, climbed up the stage curiously wearing his orange jacket wrapped around his waist.

At the start of his speech he turned his back on the audience and lifted the jacket.

“Maayong buntag sa inyong tanan. Pobre na si Erap. Butas ang pantalon ko. Nakita mo? Ano nakita mo?(Good morning to you all. Erap is now poor. My pants have a hole. Did you see it? What did you see?)” he asked the crowd, which replied: “Puti! (It’s white!)”

Estrada told reporters he ripped his pants while getting on his helicopter.

“I was told that these things happen. It’s OK. At least they got to see my butt,” he said. “I will still wear the pants. I will just have them stitched up.”

Late for lunch

Estrada arrived in Leyte at 9 a.m. Tuesday. He and the entire Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) ticket hope to win the more than 200,000 votes available in the province.

The incident made him miss lunch with former Gov. Gerry Espina, a member of the Nacionalista Party headed by Estrada’s rival, Sen. Manuel Villar. Estrada flew back to his hotel in Tacloban City to get a new pair of pants.

To the PMP, it’s better to have embarrassing incidents like this one than being the subject of relentless media scrutiny.

Estrada’s son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is seeking reelection, said his father stood to “benefit” from the current exchange of black propaganda between survey front-runners Villar and Sen. Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party.

The younger Estrada said the situation now was a “welcome relief” from the 1998 presidential campaign when every tiny detail of his father’s personal life was reported in the media.

Estrada’s gambling and drinking habits and his extramarital affairs were daily news fare. The younger Estrada said the coverage got worse shortly before and after his father was ousted in Edsa II in 2001.

Another key Arroyo ally backs Noynoy, Mar

Another key Arroyo ally backs Noynoy, Mar
By Jorge Cariño

CEBU, Philippines – Another key ally of President Gloria Arroyo has chosen not to support her official candidate, Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, for president in the May 10 polls.

Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., who recently quit his post as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, publicly endorsed on Tuesday the Liberal Party (LP) tandem of Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Davide, a native of Argao, Cebu, said the LP tandem is the change the country needs.

“I think that this is the best time for our country to have a real change, and that change can only be accomplished through the leadership of Noynoy and Mar,” Davide, who wore a yellow t-shirt, said at a press conference.

Davide’s leadership of the Supreme Court during the military-backed EDSA 2 helped provide a peaceful transition from the Estrada government to the Arroyo administration in January 2001.

It was Davide who swore in Mrs. Gloria Arroyo at EDSA succeeding Estrada, who was forced to leave Malacañang Palace after a peaceful military-backed civilian revolt. The revolt was triggerd by Estrada’s failed impeachment trial over various corruption allegations.

After he retired from the Supreme Court, President Arroyo appointed Davide as the Philippine ambassador to the United Nations.

Davide said he resigned as Philippine ambassador to the United Nations to campaign for Aquino and “enlighten our people on the need to choose the best.”

Davide’s son is the LP candidate for vice-governor of Cebu.

A close Aquino ally

Davide was a close political ally of the late former President Corazon Aquino.

He headed a presidential commission which investigated coup attempts during the Aquino government.

Mrs. Aquino appointed Davide to the Supreme Court in 1991. Former President Joseph Estrada named him Chief Justice in November 1998.

Davide is helping the LP despite black propaganda that Aquino is a “mama’s boy” and “topak (crazy).” A fake document has been circulated on the web on the state of Aquino’s mental health.

Aquino said these false accusations only show the kind of politician his chief rival, Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party, is.

“I really think they’re doing me a service by showing how trash, how baseless, how trivial they are, to what depths they can go to, in trying to advance their political career. So, I think it heightens the differences between them, and us and I’m sure the Filipino people will choose wisely,” Aquino said.

Former members of the Arroyo Cabinet, such as Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, are backing the LP tandem. — report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News


By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO LEAVE the country. That’s the Pulse Asia survey that shows these 12 senatorial candidates on top: 1. Bong Revilla, 2. Jinggoy Estrada, 3. Miriam Santiago, 4. Pia Cayetano, 5. Franklin Drilon, 6. Juan Ponce Enrile, 7. Tito Sotto, 8. Ralph Recto, 9. Serge Osmeña, 10. Bongbong Marcos, 11. Lito Lapid, and 12. TG Guingona.

That’s got important—and dismaying—things to say about our political culture.

One is that corruption isn’t all that damning to us. Or else many of those top 12 would be languishing at the bottom of the barrel instead of Neric Acosta. It reinforces my belief that we have a clear concept of nakaw, which is visible theft (snatching, pickpocketing, holdup) and we have a clear concept of going overboard (sugapa, swapang), but we have a fuzzy concept of pillage. Either we do not think of what is being stolen as our money or we grant our public officials leeway to plunder so long as they do not plunder too grossly. That Marcos and Enrile, who are both associated with plundering grossly, are up there must suggest further that we are a truly forgetful race, having already forgotten martial law.

Two is a variation of the saying, “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests,” which is, “There are no ceaseless loyalties, only ceaseless reinventions.” Again Enrile takes the cake there. He’s the perfect revealer of Philippine political culture, a fellow who has thrived under the most disparate, indeed conflicting, conditions and ideologies, variously under Marcos, Cory, Ramos, Erap and Gloria. I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to flourish under Aquino, having done him the supreme favor of pulling Villar down.

Three, Enrile’s and Miriam’s high ratings must suggest as well that “walang iwanan” or the kind of loyalty associated with dogs, fraternities and gangs might be overrated as a value. Both were ardent Erap defenders, distinguishing themselves in the impeachment trial for blocking the opening of the second envelope, thereby ushering Edsa 2, and opening the floodgates for the riots in Mendiola by urging the ragged crowd at the Shrine to “sugod, sugod,” thereby dooming “Edsa 3.” Later, in a hugely farcical addition to the farce, Santiago would place a revolver on her desk and defy the authorities to arrest her. As in what, she would have done an Ivler with them if they did?

And then faster than you could say “Brenda,” they were vowing “walang iwanan”—to Gloria.

Four, news of the death of entertainers in national politics is grossly exaggerated. National politics of course is where they’ve thrived, not the local one. Local politics is still ward politics, not popularity politics, as shown by Rudy Fernandez losing to Sonny Belmonte in Quezon City and Manny Pacquiao to Darlene Custodio in South Cotabato, both, if not at the height of their popularity, at least not very far from it.

The notion that entertainers are on the wane comes from their showing in 2007 when Tito Sotto, Richard Gomez, Cesar Montano and several others failed in their bid. And indeed when FPJ, the king of them all, as his title proclaimed, lost to GMA in 2004—or so it seemed (I’ll get to that presently).

In fact, in the case of Sotto, what caused his loss was less being perceived as an entertainer than as having turned his back on FPJ. That was borne out by the surveys. Which must make us add a caveat to walang iwanan as a value or non-value: It matters when the turnaround is immediate, less so when buried by time. Defensor and Enrile have had 10 years to reinvent themselves from being Erap loyalists, Sotto had only three from being an FPJ loyalist.

Gomez and Montano made the leap too fast too soon. Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada have the advantage of having parents who gave political capital to their family names. Quite incidentally Ramon Revilla did not win the first time he ran for senator from the fatal mistake of using his real name instead of his screen name. They have the advantage too, as does Sotto, of continuous exposure throughout the year from the things they do. And Bong Revilla found the most high-profile issue of all, one that, well, pricked the nation’s imagination the way Ernesto Maceda did ages ago with the “Brunei Beauties”: Hayden Kho’s escapades. That’s why Jinggoy is only number 2.

No, the entertainers will be here for quite a while.

Five, FPJ did not lose the elections, he was robbed of the elections. It wasn’t a case of the dawning of a new day, the entertainers were gone, it was a case only of “Da King is dead, long live Da King.” It certainly wasn’t the dawning of a new day on two counts.

At the very least because the seeming disappearance of the entertainers only meant the reappearance of the trapos led by GMA and Jose de Venecia. The latter, still smarting from being crushed by Erap in 1998, would later help GMA avoid paying the price of stealing the elections. He would also later pay the price for that, by being crushed by GMA. Two-zero. De Venecia it was who would lobby hard for a shift to a parliamentary system, which would defang popularity and make the trapo da king once and for all. He would fail miserably.

At the very most because it did not just announce the reappearance of the trapo, it announced the reappearance of the extreme form of the trapo, which was the dictator. The entertainers weren’t beaten through the vote, they were beaten through the theft of the vote, the trapos reasserting themselves by showing that if they could not win by hook, they would win by crook. If they could not win by popularity, they would win by force. If they could not rule by law, they would rule without the law.

Six, when will we ever get out of the rut of having to choose between entertainer and trapo?

Erap: Noynoy is my toughest opponent

Erap: Noynoy is my toughest opponent

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine president Joseph Estrada on Monday admitted that his toughest opponent in the 2010 presidential race is survey frontrunner and Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“I think Number 1 is harder to beat. I want to be number 1. Siyempre siya yung pinakamahirap talunin. If he is still number 1 (by May), he will be the hardest to beat,” Estrada said in a radio dzMM interview.

Aquino has topped pre-election surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations since he announced his candidacy last September. SWS president Mahar Mangahas, however, noted that  there has been a consistent decline in support for Aquino since December.

Estrada currently ranks third in the race but has been steadily gaining support after ramping up his presidential campaign last February.

In the interview, the former president said the people should vote to bring him back to Malacañang because he is the original opposition candidate compared to other presidential bets who conspired to remove him from office in 2001. If re-elected, he said he would prioritize food security in the country.

Estrada was elected president in 1998 but was removed from office in 2001 after a four-day bloodless revolt, which has been dubbed the EDSA 2 People Power Revolution.

“We celebrate EDSA 1 every year because it signaled the return of democracy to the country. But EDSA 2, we don’t celebrate EDSA 2. The Filipinos are ashamed of it. It was illegal and the way I was removed was unconstitutional,” he said.

In the interview, he said the present group of presidential contenders did nothing when his best friend, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr, ran for the presidency in 2004 and lost to President Arroyo. Arroyo has been accused of rigging the 2004 presidential election with the help of Commission on Elections official Virgilio Garcillano Jr.

The original ‘orange’ candidate

Estrada, meanwhile, chided Nacionalista Party bet Sen. Manuel Villar for “stealing” his campaign colors for the presidential race. Both candidates are using the color orange to distinguish themselves from the other candidates.

Estrada said the color orange in his campaign has a storied history, dating as far back as his successful senatorial campaign in 1987.

At that time, he said there was a lot of tension between the ruling Laban political party of President Corazon Aquino and the remaining members of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan of ousted president Ferdinand Marcos. Laban used the color yellow while KBL used red.

“Since I wanted unity in the country, I mixed the red and the yellow and came up with orange. Orange has been my campaign color since 1986. When I ran for senator, vice-president and president, I used orange as my campaign color. Matagal ko nang kulay ito,” he said.

He added: “Iba na yung original. Mahirap yung nangongopya lang.”

Estrada reiterated his earlier claim that he received feelers from another candidate to withdraw from the race in exchange for the reimbursement of his campaign expenses. Asked if it was Villar who sent the offer, he said: “May mga pahiging lang. I cannot say if it came from them.”

He also admitted that he shares the same dilemma as other candidates when it comes to lack of campaign contributions. He added, however, that unlike other candidates, he is running a much leaner campaign.  “First of all, we don’t do ‘hakot’ crowds. We don’t pay artists so matipid na matipid. We also have friends who donate gasoline money or sound systems. These are just small things that I get,” he said.

Estrada said that compared to his competitors, he does not need celebrity endorsers for his campaign.

“The people are my biggest endorser. Si Erap may masang Pilipino. Sila lang ang pinagmamalaki natin,” he said.

When straight emits the odor of crooked

When straight emits the odor of crooked
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star

There is a paid TV ad titled Ituwid natin (Let’s straighten it out) that has been airing on ABS-CBN TV Patrol and Umagang kay ganda (Good Morning). It is hosted by showbiz personality Toni Gonzaga and she is assisted alternately by lawyers Geronimo Sy and Cesar Villanueva.

The paid TV ad is formatted to appear as a public affairs segment, similar to a typical talk show. It is well funded — PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Petron, San Miguel Corporation and the DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) among the listed sponsors. The PCSO and DBP are under the government.

One would think that with the devastation being caused by the El Niño, the funds of the PCSO and the DBP would have been better allocated for the affected farmers. Other than those affected by the El Niño, there are easily 20 other public needs the PCSO and the DBP would do well to address instead.

Ituwid natin purports to promote discussions on the gains and lessons of EDSA I and EDSA II and the roles of the presidents since EDSA I. But that is not how your Chair Wrecker saw it and yours truly is not alone in this observation. Two leading ABS-CBN news and public affairs veterans share the view that Ituwid natin is soft propaganda for massaging the exit image of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

Normally, we would not take issue with that. GMA is entitled to put her best foot forward, especially now that she is stepping down from the highest office in the land. But when GMA’s image repair is accomplished at the expense of the truth — whether it is the failure of omitting the whole truth or of telling a lie — then we must expose and challenge it.

Watching Ituwid natin gives the trained eye the impression that there is another agenda being served other than to repair the image of GMA. That other agenda is to lessen the monumental image of the late beloved president, Cory C. Aquino, the historical titan the whole world hailed as the Icon and Saint of Democracy when she passed away last August 1, 2009.

For instance, the segment where RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) retired colonel Red Kapunan appeared is the best proof of this insidious Cory bashing agenda of Ituwid natin. Neither Gonzaga nor her co-host challenged Kapunan when he stated that the RAM launched their coup attempts against Cory Aquino because of their deep concern that the Communists were gaining ground under her administration.

The truth is Kapunan and his comrades launched their coup attempts because they were out to grab political power. The truth is it was the militarization under the Marcos regime that promoted the growth of the Communist Movement and that it was the democratic space Cory Aquino introduced after EDSA I that divided the Red Sea like Moses did in the Old Testament.

The truth is it was the growth of the Communist Movement owing to the oppression and repression during the Marcos regime which compelled then US President Ronald Reagan to stop supporting Marcos and pushed Marcos to vacate Malacañang Palace. Up to February 22, 1986, Reagan still supported Marcos. Reagan only relented after then US State Secretary George Shultz impressed on him that the Communists will attain stalemate here within two years if Marcos remained as president.

During the Cory years, the Communists were thrown into disarray and fought among themselves because many of their comrades were tired of fighting and were convinced by the sincerity of the new administration and the attraction of the new democratic space. To prevent their comrades from returning to the mainstream, the diehards started their own version of the Killing Fields of Cambodia — slaughtering their own kind.

The Communist political fronts were all dismantled by the political component of the Cory Aquino administration’s anti-insurgency program which was launched by then Local Government Secretary, the late Jimmy N. Ferrer. Ferrer was assassinated in what was made to appear as a job of the Communists but would later on tend to indicate that it was a Right Wing job designed to promote more conflict that will weaken the Cory administration.

Unlike Kapunan, Hector Tarrazona, another RAM member who also helped oust Marcos, did not join the coup attempts against Cory Aquino. During the 1989 coup, Tarrazona was the most senior officer at the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City. He stopped the officers and men under his command from joining the coup. The plan then was for the rebel sympathizers in the air base to take off in the trainer planes and to drop explosives on pinpointed targets.

Another RAM member, Rex Robles, is still remembered for sharing his tears before a national television audience when Cory Aquino passed away last August 1, 2009. Those were tears of regret from Rex Robles which enhanced his manhood for having admitted a wrong done to a great president and to the country. In contrast, Kapunan would rather prefer to rewrite history.

It is bad enough that many Filipinos do not know the real history of their country. What makes the situation worse is the constant attempt to rewrite contemporary history just to attain political gain or to simply save face.

Not knowing our real history, we end up embracing our biggest oppressors and rejecting the nationalists who are fighting for the real interests of the Filipino people. Just to show how sick the Filipino national soul is, we have found it acceptable and legal to promote the interests of another country and deemed it criminal for Filipinos to protect their national interests.

As a consequence of our folly, many foreigners have become filthy rich from the natural resources of our country while many of our people remained misinformed, uneducated and impoverished. For not knowing the historical truth, the Filipino has become the biggest impediment of Philippine progress.

*      *      *

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: [email protected] and www.chairwrecker.com

Binay gives hints Villar is Arroyo's secret bet

Binay gives hints Villar is Arroyo’s secret bet

Add vice presidential bet Jejomar Binay to the list of candidates who have taken a swipe at Senator Manuel Villar Jr. for allegedly being President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s secret candidate.

On Friday, it was Binay’s turn to hurl the long-rumored accusation at Villar, albeit indirectly this time.

Naniniwala po ako na mayroong isang kumakandidato na nagkaroon ng sikretong usapan kay Presidente Arroyo. Naniniwala po ako dun. Bakit po hindi tinutuligsa ang administrasyon? Mayroon rin po siyang kasaysayan ng baliktaran. Tinulungan siya ni Erap [former President Joseph Estrada] para maging Speaker, pero isa siya sa mga nanguna sa impeachment,” Binay told anchor Mike Enriquez during radio dzBB’s Ikaw Na Ba? The Vice Presidential Interview.

(I believe that there is a candidate who had a secret agreement with President Arroyo. Why has he [the secret candidate] not been openly criticizing the administration? Besides, he has a history of shifting allegiances. Erap helped him become Speaker, but he was among those involved in the impeachment case against Estrada.)

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll give it a six or seven,” Binay said, referring to the truth behind allegations of Arroyo having a secret candidate in this year’s polls.

“Mayroon diyan, oposisyon daw ‘pag magsalita, pero ‘pag kumilos, parang administrasyon (There are those who say they belong to the opposition, but their actions suggest that they are for the administration),” he added.

Reached for comment, the camp of Villar challenged Binay to categorically state who the Makati mayor was referring to during the radio interview.

“We challenge him to name categorically who he was referring to. We challenge him to prove what he has been saying. Otherwise, outside of it, it’s just pure malice. I hope he has the guts to prove whatever allegations he makes rather than hide behind statements like that,” said NP senatorial candidate Gilbert Remulla, a party spokesperson.

Villar’s camp had long denied the rumor. Even administration bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr. believes the supposed alliance should be dismissed as a political gossip.

Impeachment, ouster

Binay is seeking the vice presidency with Estrada as his presidential standard bearer under the banner of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino-United Opposition (PMP-UNO).

To recall, Estrada was forced to step down from power in January 2001 following the withdrawal of support of the military and police from him. Then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was installed as president.

In late 2000, an impeachment complaint was filed against Estrada at the House of Representatives, then headed by Villar, who was a member of the ruling coalition Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP).

Estrada was eventually impeached when Villar transmitted the complaint to the Senate, doing so by incorporating the order in his prayer amid objections by several allies of Estrada.

The impeachment trial, though, was never completed as the prosecutors walked out of the proceedings when senator-judges allied with Estrada voted not to open a second envelope purportedly containing bank records of Estrada. This led to the second EDSA uprising which culminated with Estrada’s ouster from power in January 2001.

Top spender

Also in the radio interview, Binay also criticized a national candidate’s excessive campaign expenses.

Kung pera-pera lang ang halalan, e ‘di ‘di na sana ako tumakbo pa. Ang mga botante, educated and intelligent na. Nangangailangan sila ng mga ‘di namumuhunan. ‘Yang mga gumagastos ng bilyon diyan, hindi naman pilantropo ‘yan eh. Gumagastos ‘yan dahil may nakikitang ROI (return on investment) ‘yan. Kung bilyun-bilyon ang gastos mo, natural babawiin mo ‘yan,” Binay said.

(If the election was really about money, I wouldn’t have run in the first place. I believe that voters today are educated and intelligent. They don’t want people seeking to profit from the elections. Those spending billions in campaigns are not philanthropists. They are spending that much because they’re seeing a return on investment later on.)

Binay did not identify the national candidate, records show Villar is the biggest spender among presidential candidates. [See: Over P2B worth of pol ads before campaign period]

Still, Binay vowed to cooperate with whoever presidential contender gets elected should he himself win in his bid.

“I am a team player. I was elected by the people, and I am going to render services to the president. Umasa siya na susuportahan ko siya at magtutulungan kami para iangat ang bayan (I assure him of my support in fulfilling our responsibilities to the people),” he said.

“Mr. President, you can sleep soundly as I assure you I am not going to usurp your position,” he said in Filipino. — RSJ, RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV

Arroyo: Glory of EDSA I gone

Arroyo: Glory of EDSA I gone
Says People Power now partisan

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Claiming that the “Glorious Revolution” had deteriorated into partisanship over the years, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Thursday made her final appearance as the nation’s leader at ceremonies commemorating the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Ms Arroyo led officials in raising the flag at the People Power Monument on EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue) in Quezon City, which kicked off the day’s activities to mark the 24th anniversary of the uprising that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed Corazon “Cory” Aquino as the President.

“The Philippines has come a long way since 1986. We regained our freedom and our national pride, but somewhere along the way we became complacent. People Power gained a partisan meaning that started to divide the nation once more,” Ms Arroyo said in her speech.

Thursday was Ms Arroyo’s last appearance at the EDSA I anniversary because her term ends on June 30.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Christopher Carreon of the EDSA People Power Commission, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa and Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Oscar Inocentes joined Ms Arroyo at the ceremony that started at 7:30 a.m. with the singing of the national anthem and the flag-raising ceremony.

The Quezon Symphony Band then began playing classic Filipino songs, at which point former President Fidel V. Ramos, a key player in the 1986 uprising, emerged from the crowd and shared the stage with Ms Arroyo and the other officials.

Ms Arroyo said the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution should be commemorated not for the partisanship that came in its wake but for its spirit that presented the “greatness” of Filipinos to the world.

“People Power is not partisan. It is not about whose politics one supports. It’s about the heroism of the many who held strongly to their faith in the Filipino and who have sought a new Philippines that stands proudly beside any free nation in the world,” she said.

Ms Arroyo said EDSA I inspired many people worldwide to “stand up for their own freedom.”

“The world embraced EDSA I in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA II in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA III but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable,” she said.

Then the Vice President, Ms Arroyo was catapulted to power in January 2001 in another military-backed revolt that ousted President Joseph Estrada on charges of corruption, incompetence and inefficiency. It came to be known as EDSA II.

In May 2001, followers of Estrada stormed Malacañang in a violent but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to unseat Ms Arroyo—an event that partisans of the deposed leader like to call “EDSA III.”

Ms Arroyo said her administration had partly succeeded in accomplishing its goal of bringing disparate sectors together in the aftermath of People Power.

“A few years ago I declared that one of our goals is to heal the wounds of EDSA. We’ve achieved this to some extent,” Ms Arroyo said.

“Most of those who used violence to express their opposition have had a change of heart and are now working with mainstream society to fast-track our growth,” she said in reference to some of the rebel military officers involved in the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny, who have since rejoined the government.

“The few who have vowed to fight the constitutional authority, many of them are now seeking their own place in the political system, placing themselves under the rule of the Constitution,” she added, referring to detained rebel officers Danilo Lim and Ariel Querubin who are running for Senate seats in the May elections.

“Peaceful revolution is a hallmark of the Filipino’s struggle. It’s also our guide now as we wage war on various fronts—against poverty, against hunger, against ignorance. People Power is the course that we will use to win this war,” she said.

A portion of EDSA’s northbound lane and White Plains Avenue was closed to traffic to make way for the anniversary celebration.

In an ecumenical prayer, four religious leaders called on all candidates in the May elections to be inspired to work for the country whether they win or lose.

And as with all EDSA anniversary celebrations, yellow confetti was scattered around the People Power Monument.

She has stayed away from the anniversary celebrations since July 2005, the height of the “Hello Garci” election fraud scandal, when Cory Aquino and civil society leaders called for her resignation.

In 2007, Ms Arroyo marked the anniversary by laying wreaths at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Last year, she chose to attend a jobs fair at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration just across the street from the EDSA Shrine.

In 2006, the commemoration was canceled after Ms Arroyo declared a state of emergency following the discovery of a coup plot planned for the eve of the EDSA I anniversary.

Danilo Lim, one of the leaders of the violent coup attempt against then President Aquino in 1989, was to have led troops in a protest march on Feb. 24, 2006, in what was euphemistically called a “withdrawal of support” from Ms Arroyo.

He was sacked as commander of the Army’s elite First Scout Rangers. He is detained at Camp Crame national police headquarters and is running for senator as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party (LP).

Interviewed at the People Power Monument, Mayor Belmonte said the legacy of EDSA I was enduring despite the passing of its most popular icons, Cory Aquino and Jaime Cardinal Sin.

“The courage of Filipinos who were there at EDSA was never gone. That was the moment that signaled an important part of our nation’s history,” he said.

Belmonte was president of the Government Service and Insurance System during the administration of Aquino, who died in August 2009.

He was recently sworn in as an LP member and is seeking to represent Quezon City in the House.

Asked if he thought EDSA I had lost its relevance after 24 years, Belmonte said: “EDSA lives on. It doesn’t die because icons even from the ranks of ordinary people prove that the EDSA spirit is alive.”

He said that even with Sin and Aquino gone, democratic processes were alive and well.

“Nonetheless, it’s good that we are reminded that we have that one shining moment in our nation’s history,” he said.

In Manila, officials and employees laid wreaths at the monuments of Aquino and her husband, the martyred Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

“Let us not forget the sacrifices of the Aquinos in order for us to have the democracy we now enjoy,” Mayor Alfredo Lim said in a speech.

Rafa Lopa, a nephew of the late Aquinos, represented the family, particularly LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, at the event.

Lim called on those who witnessed EDSA I to remember how Ninoy offered his life for the country and how Cory and her children suffered during his incarceration by the Marcos regime.

He urged the youth to learn their history by heart and to not forget the heroes of democracy.

Lopa said the Aquino family recognized that without the love of country showed by ordinary citizens, EDSA I would not have happened.

According to Lopa, Noynoy Aquino did not originally intend to seek the presidency except that his mother’s death triggered a clamor for him to carry on the legacy of his parents.

Lopa also said the massive public support for Noynoy also meant support for the country’s change for the better. With reports from Julie M. Aurelio and Tina G. Santos

GMA belittles EDSA I

GMA: People power became divisive
By Jaime Laude
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo, whose rise to power was triggered by a popular and peaceful uprising in 2001, said people power has assumed a “partisan meaning” and become divisive.

“The Philippines has come a long way since 1986. We regained our freedom, our national pride and our will to get the country growing. Somewhere along the way, we became complacent. People power gained a partisan meaning which started to divide the nation once again,” she said in a statement read by Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales during the EDSA People Power 24th anniversary rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mrs. Arroyo did not attend the anniversary rites.

EDSA People Power began on Feb.22, 1986 and ended on Feb.25 when then dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii on a US aircraft.

President Corazon Aquino assumed the leadership with Marcos’ ouster.

The event was traditionally celebrated on Feb. 25.

“We have to be jolted into mass action once again to realize that sustaining our growth and freedoms meant constant vigilance not only to defend our human rights but also to protect our right to good governance,” she declared.

She said that after EDSA I, the country became weak because of ineptitude and corruption.

“A dysfunctional government resulted in insufficient investments in healthcare, in education, even in the basic amenities such as clean water and electricity to remote barangays,” she said apparently referring to the administration of deposed President Joseph Estrada.

She said the political instability eventually triggered EDSA II which propelled her to the presidency.

“I did not seek the Office of the President, it was thrust upon me,” she said in her speech.

“A few years ago, I declared that one of my goals was to heal the wounds of EDSA. I believe that we have achieved this to some extent. Most of those who used violence to express their opposition have had a change of heart and are now working with the government to fast-track our growth,” she said.

“The few who have vowed to fight the constitutional authority are now seeking their own place in our political system, placing themselves under the rules of the Constitution they used to undermine,” she said.

“EDSA I is a testament to the courage of the ordinary people who trooped to the stretch of the highway in 1986. It is a tribute to the soldiers of 1986 who recognized that true power came from the people and not form the barrel of a gun. It is also the guide to the Filipino soldiers of today who make great sacrifices to defend the freedoms of the ordinary Filipino,” she said.

She EDSA II was a fine-tuning of EDSA-1 and that both had been embraced by the world.

“In February 1986, Filipinos taught the world how to be free again. Today, almost a quarter century after that glorious revolution, we join some of the main players in celebrating the bloodless revolution that has inspired many peoples all over the world to stand up for their own freedom,” she said.

“It was said that civilians did not stand a chance against the dispersal to be done by loyalist troops. But when that was set to happen, the Filipino soldiers took the side of the ordinary people who gathered to collectively assert their right to free thought and free speech,” she added.

“Recognizing civilian supremacy, the soldier stood beside the ordinary man, and we all joined hands as Filipinos reaffirming our commitment to freedom and democracy.”

After assuming the presidency, she said she started focusing like a “laser beam” on delivering results to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos.

As an economist, she said knew that to reverse years of economic decline, she had to instill fiscal discipline, grow the economy and invest in human and physical infrastructure.

Under her more than nine years as president, she said her government has established a nationwide transportation system that binds the nation together for the first time and the Filipinos are no longer isolated from one another.

Show of force

The Liberal Party said it will have a show of force on Thursday, Feb.25, the culmination of the three-day revolt that ousted the Marcos regime.

“That is the idea of people power. We want to demonstrate it,” LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III said.

Aquino said the rally would be at the Araneta Coliseum at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.

Aquino said he personally “feels a sense of pride and achievement” during anniversary celebrations of the Edsa revolution because of the role his family, especially his parents, played in helping the country regain democracy.

At a rally in Marilao, Bulacan, Aquino said the first Edsa should remind his rivals he was not just an inheritor of a good name of the country’s two democracy icons – his late mother and father.

“Given my experience, I should know how it is to be oppressed and thus the desire to change the situation,” Aquino said.

Aquino said no one could lecture him about life’s difficulties and claim that he could not understand what the poor and the oppressed were experiencing being the son of a privileged parents.

He related that he was only 12 when his father was arrested and jailed when martial law was declared in 1972 and then visited him at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija at age 13.

He was 16 when his father was sentenced death by musketry and Aquino said at that time, “I felt the absence of justice” but was helpless to do anything.

At 23, he said his family came back to the Philippines from exile in the United States to bury their father who was assassinated and at 27, he was wounded in an ambush during one of the coup attempts against his mother.

Aquino said the people must take the coming election as an opportunity to change the system and not be lazy and just “wait for the guava to fall.”

He said then President Ferdinand Marcos wished to stay in power forever and he said many chose to fight Marcos as communist insurgents but in the end the people themselves toppled the dictatorship.

He said President Arroyo now seemed to be no different as corruption was so prevalent.

“Are we going to stand up and change the system or just let it be?” he asked the crowd.

“And once God tells me, finish or not finish pass your paper, I can look (at my parents eyes), I will be looking up, not down to be hit on the head, but proud to tell them that I fought, continued their fight and finished it through the help of the people,” Aquino said.

“Let us tell (our opponents and the administration) that we will no longer allow them to rob us of our future, to rob us of our hope. We are here together, hand in hand, to bring Noynoy to Malacanang,” Sen. Manuel Roxas II. Aquino’s running mate, said.

Meanwhile, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, said he will attend, for the first time tomorrow an Arroyo government-sponsored celebration of EDSA 1.

Binay, running mate of former President Joseph Estrada under the banner of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino-United Opposition (PMP-UNO), said he has accepted the invitation of the organizers and would be joining former President Fidel V. Ramos, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and other prominent EDSA veterans. He said his attendance doesn’t mean he is reconciling with Mrs. Arroyo..

“Before we can have reconciliation, we must first have justice. I am thankful for the invitation, but we should always remember that the 1986 EDSA Revolution was about the struggle against tyranny, oppression and corruption. It’s a struggle that is far from over,” Binay said.

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for his part, Jr. urged city residents to rekindle the spirit of EDSA by working to eradicate social ills.

“Let us continue to remember that the EDSA revolution had served as model for people power movements across the world, especially in Poland and the Soviet Union,” he said. Aurea Calica, Jose Rodel Clapano and Reinir Padua