Lim and Estrada = It’s complicated
With much fanfare, former president Joseph Estrada transferred out of his long-time Polk Street, San Juan residence to his new home in Sta. Mesa, Manila yesterday morning. Estrada, who was found guilty of plunder in 2007, confirmed his bid to unseat incumbent Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim in the 2013 midterm elections. He also tapped incumbent Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso as his running-mate.
According to Title Two of the Local Government Code, a candidate for mayor must be a registered voter in the city where he or she intends to run for at least one year before the day of the elections. Domagoso’s decision to break from Lim and align with Estrada is somehow befuddling since the latter is already seeking his third and final term. Given that they ran together in 2010, it is likely that Lim would anoint Domagoso as his successor once he becomes term-limited.
Lim and Estrada both ran for the presidency in 1998. Estrada won the race with over ten million votes, while Lim finished a poor fifth in a field of eight candidates. In January 2000, Estrada appointed Lim as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary. A year later, Lim joined 10 other members of the Estrada cabinet in resigning at the height of EDSA People Power II in 2001.
A few days after Estrada was ousted, the Philippine Star reported that Lim “urged all officials and employees of the DILG and its attached agencies to extend all-out support to the Arroyo administration.” Lim, who served as Manila mayor from 1992 to 1998, sought to reclaim his old post in that year’s elections but lost to incumbent Lito Atienza.
In 2004, Lim ran and won a senate seat under the banner of Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino. Actor and Estrada bosom buddy Fernando Poe, Jr. was the party’s standard bearer that year. Halfway through his six-year senate term, Lim decided to run again for Manila mayor, this time against Ali Atienza (the elder Atienza is term-limited). He ran under the Genuine Opposition ticket, and Estrada even appeared in a television advertisement for him. Lim defeated the younger Atienza by almost 100,000 votes.
The rather good relationship between Estrada and Lim went downhill starting in 2008, when the latter abruptly resigned from the former’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino. The rift began when Lim ordered the city takeover of the Vitas Slaughterhouse in Tondo, Manila. The slaughterhouse is owned by the family of Councilor Dennis Alcoreza, an ally of Atienza. During the eviction, policemen had to literally carry Alcoreza out of the slaughterhouse. Alcoreza filed criminal and administrative charges against Lim and five other city hall officials before the Ombudsman, but the body junked the case last year.
Lim successfully won reelection in 2010 over the elder Atienza, defeating his nemesis by over 200,000 votes. He ran under the Liberal Party while Atienza had the blessings of Estrada. Atienza in return endorsed Estrada’s presidential bid. Estrada placed a strong second to eventual winner Benigno Aquino III, garnering over nine million votes.
Estrada the Carpetbagger?
Estrada began considering running for mayor of Manila middle of last year. Estrada emphasizes his Manila roots by saying that he was born in Tondo and that his father served as a long-time Manila city engineer. Despite this, Estrada, who served as mayor of San Juan from 1969 to 1986, is still vulnerable to charges of being a carpetbagger.
Carpetbaggers are politicians who move to another district/city/province, even if they have long resided in another place, just for the purpose of getting elected. Here are recent examples:
1. In 2007, Senator Lito Lapid transferred his voter registration from Pampanga to Makati to challenge incumbent Mayor (and now Vice President) Jejomar Binay. Binay was reelected by a margin of 170,000 votes.
2. Richard Gomez was disqualified in 2010 from joining the congressional race in Ormoc, Leyte because he failed to meet the abovementioned one-year residency rule for candidates. The COMELEC made its final ruling on the matter six days before the elections. His wife Lucy Torres is now occupying that seat.
3. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, former vice governor of Tarlac, filed her candidacy to be the vice governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Aquino administration moved the ARMM polls to coincide with the 2013 midterm elections.
One indication of Estrada’s voter appeal in Manila is his performance in the city during the 2010 presidential polls. Aquino received 298,217 votes in the country’s capital city while Estrada placed second with 214,517 votes. Administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro placed a distant third with 72,521. See the complete congressional canvass results for that year’s presidential elections here.
The 2013 mayoralty race in Manila for now appears to be a two-corner affair between Lim and Estrada. Jojo Robles, columnist for Manila Standard, wrote that Estrada will only run if he is sure to defeat Lim. Otherwise, he will back Moreno instead. This is because Estrada cannot afford to close his long political career with two successive electoral defeats.
What will now happen to former mayor Lito Atienza? Will other mayoralty aspirants, including possibly 4th District Rep. Trisha Bonoan-David, emerge? Is Estrada’s supposed mayoralty bid just a bluff meant to show everyone his remaining political clout? Until the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacies comes, nothing is certain.
Latest Eraption: Kung may hirap, may ginhawa (from The Philippine Star)
Lim lashes back at Isko Moreno, Estrada: Attacks come from ‘trapos’ (from The Philippine Daily Inquirer)