Only a “miracle” will stop pardoned President Joseph Estrada from pursuing the presidency in the 2010 elections.
By “miracle,” Estrada means having only one presidential candidate for the opposition, a wish he would unlikely achieve after Senators Manuel Villar, Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Ma. Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, have expressed their intent to seek the highest office in the country in the 2010 polls.
Other visible hopefuls are Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda, religious leaders Mike Velarde, Eddie Villanueva and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio.
“I’m still expecting a miracle of having a single presidential candidate [for the opposition],” Estrada said in a recent interview with the Yahoo! Philippines.
Estrada has admitted reaching out to some of the 2010 hopefuls to convince them to back out, but most insist that they have already decided.
The only time he would withdraw from the race is “If they all back out and we will agree on one candidate to ensure the victory of the opposition,” Estrada added.
He also believes that he has kept the “Erap magic.”
“I don’t think I will run again if I don’t see any Erap power back,” he said, noting that he has his own choices for a running mate but the formal announcement will be made in September.
The former president said he was also not worried about funds when election campaign starts. This is despite the pending forfeiture of his assets, which he claimed were gained while he was still a movie actor.
“I know I have enough money,” he said.
The Sandiganbayan on September 2007 convicted Estrada of plunder and ordered the forfeiture to the government of cash representing Estrada’s “jueteng” (illegal numbers game) payoffs amounting to P545.29 million with interest, including the P200 million deposited in the name of the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation; the P189-million commission from the purchase of Belle Corp. shares that ended up in the so-called Jose Velarde account, and the 5, 192.88 square-meter “Boracay Mansion” in New Manila, Quezon City.
After six years of detention in his Tanay rest house, and a month after his conviction, Estrada was freed following an executive clemency from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Debates on Estrada’s eligibility to run have once again emerged.
source: By Thea Alberto