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.
In throwing his support behind Marcos, the Manila mayor described Bongbong as the “next vice president” of the country.
Marcos happily accepted Estrada’s endorsement.
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.
The country’s president from June 30,1998 to January 20, 2001, he told the crowd that his administration managed to settle the city’s P4.4 billion debt, including unpaid electricity and water bills left by former mayor Alfredo Lim, who also held his campaign rally on Monday.
Estrada 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.
Estrada and Pangan are running under Partido ng Masang Pilipino.
Pangan is the daughter of former Vice Mayor Danny Lacuna.
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.
In seeking a second term, the former leader’s battlecry is “Sulong Maynila!” [Forward Manila!].
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. NELSON S. BADILLA