Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Tuesday said he will be forced to run for President if Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay are disqualified either by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) or the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
“To preserve democracy and unite the opposition, I will run for President instead,” Estrada told reporters at the sidelines of an event held by the Partido ng Masang Pilipino at Manila City Hall.
“I will run for President while Vice Mayor Isko Moreno will take my place,” he said.
Defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David filed a petition for disqualification against Poe before the Comelec and the electoral tribunal, claiming that the senator is not a natural-born Filipino.
Binay, meanwhile, was accused of plunder in connection with the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2, which was allegedly overpriced.
“Once the decisions have been handed on or before December, I can change my certificate of candidacy [COC] immediately so that the Comelec may make changes in the printing of ballots,” Estrada said.
He will file his COC for mayor today. Moreno will run for senator.
Substitution of candidates is allowed under the Omnibus Election Code.
Section 77 provides, “In case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. – If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country, with the Commission [on Elections].”
Estrada was elected President in 1998 but his term was cut short in January 2001 when an uprising during an aborted impeachment trial forced him to leave Malacañang.
He again ran for President in 2010 but lost to then-Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Poe’s father, former action king Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ was Estrada’s best friend.
Binay is a close friend of Estrada.