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Estrada will run

BY Emil Jurado
Manila Standard Today
March 4, 2009

***

I said this last year. Go back and check my earlier blog entries. I said Estrada would run, and if the Supreme Court would allow him to run, he would win by a landslide. The man still retains a following of at least 30% of the voters, who mostly belong to the DE bracket.

But since I am very sure the Supreme Court would block him, then the presidential race would be a tight, three-way race among Chiz Escudero, Mar Roxas and Manny Villar. And where would Loren Legarda be? Am not sure, unless she cobbles together the requisite P20 billion -- yes, P20 billion -- needed for a presidential campaign. And where would Noli de Castro be? He would run as the VP of Manny Villar.

The presidential race is a race of billionaires -- or those who are supported by billionaires. If you run for president, you need to have a complete slate to be seen as a serious contender. That means a slate for senatorial candidates as well as candidates for congressmen, governors, vice-governors, provincial board members, mayors and vice-mayors. Only the councilors are not funded, since they are excepted to cling -- like leeches -- to the ones running for congressmen.

As for Tata Emil's prognosis on the senatorial candidates, I am right again. We share the same views, although I do not think Lito Lapid will run again for senator. And even if he does, the people will rightly throw him right there, in the dung heap.

I said it last week, and Tata Emil repeated it today in his column. Eight re-electionists would win as senators, leaving only four slots open for the new senatorial candidates. These four new ones better be brash, better be young, better be bright, better be media-savvy, better be telegenic, better be communicators par excellence. They should know how to use new media and new technology, the way Barack Obama did.

In short, they should exemplify the Filipino politicians of the 21st century. Yes, we are now in the 21st century, although you would not be able to guess that, judging from the quality of the people now again seeking a fresh mandate from the people. Some have IQs below sea level; others were the classmates of Jose Rizal. Some need to be given keywords to memorize so they could discuss the issues of the day; others have skin whose pores ooze with liquid as dark and viscuous as mud.

They should give the poor Filipino voters a break.

***

Former President Joseph Estrada will definitely run for President in 2010, affirming his threat that if the opposition cannot get united under a common candidate, he’ll run. Erap has told associates and friends that he’ll make this announcement come April 19, his birthday.

I have always suspected that Estrada will run for two reasons—first, he wants vindication after his ouster in 2001 and his conviction for plunder by the Sandiganbayan. He believed that his ouster was unconstitutional and his conviction was railroaded.

Comes now the question of his possible disqualification with the Constitution banning former presidents from running again in any election. Estrada and his legal advisers believe that since his six-year term of office was cut short when he was ousted, he did not finish his term. Thus, the constitutional ban does not apply.

The problem here is whether or not the Supreme Court can rule on his disqualification before the May 2010 polls. I wonder what will happen if he gets disqualified after winning the presidency, if and when he pulls a victory. Knowing how cases like these cannot be ruled on instantly, what happens then if Erap gets elected in May 2010? Will the people accept his disqualification? What will happen if they don’t?

And if Erap gets disqualified after winning, who can take over? The Constitution says that it’s the Vice President, assuming that his vice presidential candidate wins. Is this the reason why Senator Loren Legarda is always by Erap’s side now in his provincial sorties? Santa Banana, with 15 more months to election day, things are getting to be very exciting.

***

If in the long run, as the May 2010 polls approach, senatorial wannabes among the newcomers should realize early enough that the senatorial race will be very tight for them.

There are in fact seven re-electionists in the Senate: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Protempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senators Miriam Santiago, Dick Gordon, Jamby Madrigal, Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid. Since there are returnees like former Senate President Frank Drilon and former Senator Serge OsmeƱa, that leaves only two seats open. And don’t forget Koko Pimentel, who will surely run again. He may make it this time around.

Even granting that Pia Cayetano will opt to run for mayor in Taguig City, Bong Revilla will choose to run for president under the administration party, and Lito Lapid will return to Pampanga to challenge the governorship of priest-politician Gov. Ed Panlilio, there will still be five re-electionists for the Senate. Five plus two returnees and one possible wannabe elected leaves only four seats for newcomers. My gulay, that’s a very tight possibility.

Considering the fact that so many senatorial wannabes are coming out of the woodwork, they should take note of this: It takes about P200 to P300 million to get some assurance of winning. And even if they join the senatorial slate of possible winners in the presidential race, it takes more than popularity, name recall and being endorsed by a possible winning presidential aspirant to make it. In the grassroots level, it’s the Golden Rule —he who has the gold rules – that applies.

But then, people run for the presidency or the Senate not really hoping to win. They are there for the funds of it—to solicit contributions they don’t spend. Santa Banana, some are smarter, indeed.

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