Grace Poe: Erap remains relevant in Philippine politics

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said that Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will always be relevant in Philippines politics, especially now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality on the presidential pardon granted to him by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Erap will always be relevant in Philippine politics. It's like he always has that unwavering percentage of the population that support him. I’m happy that in short time that he’s been in Manila, he’s implemented quite a bit of changes and projects,” Poe said.

Although she has not read the high tribunal’s decision yet, Poe said she respects the decision of the Supreme Court.

“It’s clear... At least it puts to rest that question which has been hounding him for so long. And every time, the Comelec allows him to be a candidate, so this one for him will address all of that issue which has been hounding him for so long,” Poe said.

Poe is a daughter of Estrada’s bossom buddy, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr.

Poe did not discount the possibility that Estrada can still run for public office, or the presidency. The senator, who has been consistently in the forefront of presidential candidates for 2016, declined to comment if she sees Estrada as a threat in the 2016 national elections.

Asked if the SC decision will boost Estrada's political status, Poe repeated: “There is always that unwavering percentage” who would support him.

“Erap, whether he won this case, would always be politically relevant,” she said. “Well, at least now there is one obstacle away if he wants to run for higher office, then it would be easier for him,” Poe added.

Binay or Erap?

Meanwhile, Sen. Antonio Trillanes III did not want to give his opinion whether Estrada’s political stock will improve further after the SC decision.

Trillanes said he would assess the impact of Estrada’s chances for the presidency vis-à-vis the impact of the controversies now hounding Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“If he eventually backs out of the race, then President Erap maybe a viable option of the opposition. If not, then he will just stick to Manila,” Trillanes said.

The senator, meanwhile, admitted that Estrada will remain a threat to the administration in the 2016 national elections.

On whether who between Binay and Estrada would weigh better come 2016 presidential elections, Trillanes said the two personalities’ influence cannot be underestimated.

“I wouldn’t take either of these two lightly. They are potent political forces so they would be given enough or at least, they should be respected as such or treated as such,” he said.

Trillanes, who belongs to the Villar-led Nacionalista Party, said the party will decide by middle of the year whether or not it will field its own candidates for the presidency in 2016.

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