Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada officially endorsed the presidential candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe on Monday, ending weeks of speculation on who he is going to support between her and his close friend, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
For the vice presidential race, the former president chose Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Estrada made the announcements during his proclamation rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
Poe is the daughter of Estrada’s long-time friend, movie king Fernando Poe Jr.
Binay was the mayor’s running mate when Estrada ran for president in 2010.
The mayor said that like her father, he also loves Poe and he will never abandon her.
“Ang aking kandidato bilang pangulo ay isang magiting na tao tulad ng kanyang ama. Siya ay mahal ko rin at bahagi ng aking buhay. Kapwa kami naging artista ng tatayniya. Tulad ng aking sinabi mabubuhay mamatay si Erap [nang]hindi makababayad ng utang sa mahihirap. Ang tatay niya kumandidato habang nakakulong ako sa tanay. Sa pag-ikot ng tadhana ang kanyang minamahal na anak ang nais magpatuloy ng kanyang mga nagawa [My candidate for president is a great person like her father. I also love her because she is part of my life. Her father and I became movie actors. Like what I have been saying Erap will die unable to pay my debts to the ordinary people. Her father ran for president while I was detained in Tanay. She will continue what her father had started,) Estrada said.
“Narito na po ngayong gabi ang isang taong may galing at puso. Isang Pilipino, o Pilipina, anak, asawa, ina. Kaibigan ng lahat. At ang nakasama ko sa lahat ng aking laban bilang mayor, vice president, at president. Hindi niya ako iniwan. Paano ko iiwan to. Mga kababayan, ipinakikilala ko ang aking inaanak, ang susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas, walang iba kundi si Senator Grace Poe (Tonight, we have here a person who has skills and a heart. A Filipino, a daughter, a wife, and a mother. A friend for everyone. A person who accompanied me in all my struggles as a mayor, as vice president, and president. She never left me. So, how can I leave her? My fellowmen, I would like to introduce to you my goddaughter,the next president of the Philippines, none other than Senator Grace Poe], the mayor added.
In throwing his support behind Marcos, the Manila mayor described Bongbong as the “next vice president” of the country.
Estrada also revealed his bets for senators–Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, former Special Action Force Director Getulio Napeñas, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd, former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and former senators Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Poe was warmly welcomed by thousands of Estrada’s supporters when she appeared in the proclamation rally.
Estrada urged the people of Manila to reelect him so that he can continue implementing his administration’s programs and projects to attain “genuine progress and prosperity” for the city.
He ticked off his achievements, which include massive infrastructure projects that modernized the city’s public service facilities, including hospitals, road networks, classrooms, low-cost housing, sports complex, parks and public markets.
On top of that, he said, Manila was listed as the country’s Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City by the National Competitive Council.
Estrada was accompanied by his running mate, District 4 Councilor Maria Sheila “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan.
Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, who is running for senator, also joined the event.
Estrada’s opponents for the mayoralty post are Lim and District 5 Rep. Amado Bagatsing.
Estrada’s reelection bid was strongly supported by Marcos Jr., who, according to surveys, is leading the vice presidential race.
The mayor said he chose Liwasang Bonifacio as the venue for his team’s proclamation because it was also the site of his proclamation when he first ran for mayor in 2013.
Among those who witnessed and expressed strong support to Estrada and Pangan during Monday’s proclamation rally are officers and members of Initiatives for Life and Actions of Women, One Manila Organization, Katipunan ng Masang Pilipino, Erap Youth for Excellent Support and other groups from various sectors.