PMP set to withdraw Mendoza candidacy

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Even the titular head of the party does not personally know its standard-bearer.

The Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) is expected to withdraw next week the bid of its candidate for president, Mel Mendoza.

Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, the founding chairman of PMP, said he does not know Mendoza personally.

Mendoza, 40, a resident of Barangay Minuyan in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, works as an assistant project officer. 

Sources revealed that Mendoza would be asked to withdraw his presidential bid next week.

PMP officials said they were themselves surprised by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s decision to accredit Mendoza as a presidential candidate. 

“Substitution is no longer an option because it is beyond the deadline set by the Comelec,” a PMP official said. 

The Comelec had ruled that a substitute for one that withdraws his or her candidacy or is disqualified would have until Dec. 10, 2015 to file a certificate of candidacy.

Aside from PMP’s Mendoza, the Comelec said that other presidential candidates that may be included in the magic seven are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, former ambassador Roy Señeres and former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II.

If Mendoza withdraws his bid, the May 9 presidential elections will likely be a six-way fight among Binay, Santiago, Duterte, Poe, Roxas and Señeres.

Asked to comment on the significance to him of the Comelec’s pronouncement on Thursday that Mendoza could be included in the official presidential candidates for the May elections, Mayor Estrada said there is no more chance for him to be Mendoza’s substitute for president.

Manila City Hall’s public information officer Bambi Purisima said that PMP president Sen. Jinggoy Estrada was the one who nominated Mendoza as the PMP’s official candidate for president.

Mayor Estrada said that some of his “die-hard” supporters filed their certificates of candidacy as a reserve slot for him should he change his mind and become a substitute candidate for president of PMP in May.

“But there is no more room for me to run for president because my intention right now is to get a second term as Manila mayor,” Estrada said.

Estrada said that his son Senator Jinggoy also has no plan to run for higher position.

“Many of my die-hard supporters from Mindanao and other parts of the country are taking their chances and are still hoping that I will change my mind and run for president this May. But the chance, as insinuated, that I will run for president is now farfetched,” Estrada said.

He also said that the deadline for substitution of candidates has lapsed.

Estrada had said that the only reason for him to change his mind and run again for president is if Senator Poe and Vice President Binay are disqualified.

“There will be no democracy if the opposition will have no candidate. Right now, I have yet to choose who to endorse. I will make my endorsement soon,” Estrada said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano













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