Erap to run against Mar in 2016 if...
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will run for president in 2016 against Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II if Vice President Jejomar Binay is ordered jailed by the Office of the Ombudsman over corruption allegations and Sen. Grace Poe is disqualified by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

Estrada, in an interview after the launching of the “Rebolusyon Kontra Gutom” at the Baseco compound in Tondo, said he will seek the presidency should this scenario happen.

“If the opposition will have no one to field in the 2016 presidential race, I might run again for president,” he said.  

Estrada said he has yet to choose his presidential bet for 2016.

Unlike Binay and Roxas, Poe has yet to declare her bid for the presidency.

“Grace Poe is my goddaughter. Vice President Binay is my kumpadre and Mar Roxas was one of the best Cabinet members during my term as president. I will support the one who can do good for the Filipino people,” Estrada said.

He said he would announce his decision whether to run for president or seek reelection as Manila mayor before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy next month.

Suit vs Poe

Binay, meanwhile, appealed to all concerned not to speculate on Poe’s disqualification case and let the SET do its job.

“Let’s just wait and see, the decision is in the hands of SET,” Binay told reporters when asked to comment on the complaint filed against Poe.

He declined to comment whether the case against Poe will have an effect on his presidential bid.

Poe has overtaken Binay in the latest surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

Losing senatorial bet Rizalito David filed a petition last month before the SET, seeking to unseat Poe for not being a natural-born Filipino.

Binay had denied he was behind David’s filing of the complaint against Poe. 

Leaders of the House of Representatives urged all concerned to allow the SET to deliberate on the disqualification case against Poe without interference.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the citizenship suit filed against Poe is an important legal and political issue.

“Whatever it is, they (SET members) should not drag it,” Belmonte said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, one of the legal experts in the chamber, said the move of the SET to drop the residency suit could just be a maneuver to expedite deliberations.

“It’s possible that SET thinks the citizenship issue is more important, or the prejudicial question,” Barzaga said.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgiddi Aggabao said he was hoping the SET would dismiss the petition.

However, Poe may have benefited from the ruling of the SET to drop the residency issue.

“Now the issue has devolved into a pure question of law, i.e., the nationality of a foundling. That Senator Grace is a foundling is uncontested. She herself admitted that she is,” Aggabao told The STAR.

“Therefore the SET has no reason to abbreviate the hearing and rule on the case at the shortest possible time since no evidentiary matters need to be unnecessarily heard,” he said.

He said what the SET has to do is simply apply or interpret the relevant legal principles to the confessed fact.

Earlier, allies of Poe in the House expressed fears that her disqualification case pending before the SET would be “dribbled” until the 2016 electoral campaign to erode her popularity.

They said the SET calendar indicates that deliberations on the disqualification case could extend until February next year, shortly before the start of the national campaign.

Poe’s lawyers are reportedly pushing for an early resolution of her case as she is confident she can resolve the citizenship and residency issues raised against her by David.

Poe has been topping presidential and vice presidential surveys and is expected to announce her bid for the presidency in the coming days. – With Helen Flores, Paolo Romero

ACIRC BINAY CASE CAVITE REP DEPUTY SPEAKER AND ISABELA REP ELPIDIO BARZAGA GIORGIDDI AGGABAO GRACE POE INTERIOR SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS POE SET
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