NAKAR, Quezon: Former President Joseph Estrada’s endorsement of Sen. Grace Poe is questionable because it largely stemmed from personal ties, Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd said here on Tuesday.
Roxas downplayed the endorsement of his rival a day after Estrada, who is seeking reelection, endorsed Poe’s presidential bid with much fanfare in Estrada’s kick-off rally in Manila on Monday evening.
Estrada supporting Poe, he said, does not change Estrada’s earlier pronouncement that Roxas was one, if not the most effective and best Cabinet secretaries who created around a million jobs during the short-lived Estrada administration from 1998 to 2001.
Roxas served as the Department of Trade and Industry secretary under Estrada’s presidency.
“All of us will endorse somebody and that’s okay. Let’s see. Maybe he endorsed Senator Grace because she is the daughter of his friend, FPJ [Grace’s father Fernando Poe Jr.]. As for me, he said I was the most effective Cabinet member,” he told reporters.
Prior to being a politician, Estrada was an actor like FPJ, a National Artist for Film, and still made movies even when he was already a public official.
“We are running for President here. Ano ba ang katangian na hinahanap natin sa pagkapangulo? Ang lumilikha ng trabaho? O dahil anak lamang ng kanyang kumpadre [What do we look for in a President? Somebody who can create jobs? Or somebody who is just the daughter of his good friend]? It’s for our people to decide on,” Roxas pointed out.
“I understsand that he is endorsing Senator Grace because he is very good friends with FPJ. The endorsement comes naturally. He has reasons for endorsing Senator Grace, but he said so himself that what I did [as his Cabinet member]was meaningful for our country,” he said.
Roxas and President Benigno Aquino 3rd initially wanted to draft Poe as Roxas’ running mate for the 2016 polls, but then pre-election survey leader Poe, who was topping both presidential and vice presidential surveys, declined the offer.
Estrada was ousted from the presidency in January 2001 over massive allegations of accepting jueteng (an illegal numbers game) payoffs.
He was eventually convicted of plunder in September 2007 but was later pardoned by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Roxas, then a senator, was one of the lawmakers who called for pardoning Estrada.