Erap presidency redux

COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva1 - The Philippine Star

The march to Malacañang by incoming president Rodrigo Roa Duterte treaded very closely with the path traversed by former president Joseph Estrada. Both are mayors for several years before they rose to the presidency.

Estrada who is currently the mayor of the city of Manila won a second term in the May 9 elections. He first became mayor of San Juan when it was still a municipality of Rizal in 1969. Estrada was among the incumbent mayors when the late president Corazon “Cory” Aquino dismissed them a few months after the February 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution and appointed officers-in-charge (OICs).

Duterte, on the other hand, was appointed by then Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. as OIC vice mayor of Davao City.

In 1988, Duterte ran and won as mayor of Davao City. He was reelected and served for three consecutive terms. He ran and won as congressman of the first district of Davao City. He went back to the Davao city hall as mayor in 2001. He was reelected again and served for another three terms.

Due to term limits, he ran and won as vice mayor while his daughter Sara Duterte was elected mayor in 2010. He returned as mayor in 2013 and is now on his third and final term. His daughter won as mayor in the May 9 elections.

Estrada was senator in 1987 and elected vice president in 1992. He won by a landslide in the May 1998 presidential election. He was, however, ousted from office after a failed impeachment proceeding led to the so-called EDSA-2 in January 2001. After he was granted amnesty by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after his conviction for plunder, he made a comeback bid at Malacañang in 2010, but lost to President Aquino.

In May 2013, he decided to run for mayor of Manila and defeated then incumbent mayor Alfredo Lim.

Appearing as guest in our Kapihan sa Manila Bay last Wednesday, Estrada drew close parallelism of his political path with incoming President Duterte. Estrada hopes Duterte won’t suffer his fate after he tangled with elitist groups that conspired to oust him from Malacañang.

In our weekly breakfast forum held at Café Adriatico in Remedios Circle in Malate, Estrada recalled that he was a popular action star when he first ran as mayor of San Juan in 1967. He lost due to alleged cheating by Mayor Braulio Sto. Domingo.

Estrada filed an election protest against Sto.Domingo, won the case and was proclaimed mayor two years later. This is why Estrada expressed righteous indignation when comebacking Mayor Lim accused him of cheating and violating election laws. Lim filed last Wednesday a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to nullify Estrada’s proclamation.

Estrada won over Lim by a slim margin of 2,600 votes. He said he won by a wider margin of 36,000 against Lim in their first matchup in 2013.

Estrada, who turned 79 last month, humbled himself when compared with the incoming 16th president of the country. “He is a lawyer and became a fiscal later. I am just a college dropout and an actor,” Estrada quipped in his usual self-deprecating joke.

Another parallelism of the two mayors who became president is that the same politicians jumping over to Duterte’s PDP-Laban were the same ones who coalesced with Estrada’s Pwersa Ng Masang Pilipino.

Also, even before Duterte offered Cabinet posts to communists groups, Estrada did it during his shortened presidency.

Former rebel priest Edicio de la Torre was appointed as Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director-general. Estrada also appointed known left-leaning leaders like the late Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) secretary Horacio Morales; his late presidential spokesperson Jerry Barican who was a student activist during the martial law regime, and activist Karina David as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

It was believed that Duterte decided to run for president at the last minute after it became clear that Estrada was not among those running. Estrada’s former political affairs adviser Lito Banayo, who was shuttling to and fro the camp of Duterte, sort of acted as the “spy” to make sure of this. 

  While the two leaders may have almost similar paths in politics, Estrada said Duterte “is only the second mayor to become president of this country.” He was obviously alluding to himself as the first mayor who rose to become the 13th president of the country.

After I posted Estrada’s quote at my personal Twitter account that day, his brag was short-lived with a correction posted by the “resident historian” at Malacañang Palace, undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, head of the presidential communication development and strategic planning office.

“The third. Emilio Aguinaldo was a mayor, too,” he pointed out.

I went back to my history books to check about this little known fact about the first president of the republic. Indeed, Aguinaldo was in August 1896, the mayor of Cavite Viejo – the present-day Kawit.

Now we know the other reason why the young Estrada was kicked out from Ateneo.

Levity aside, Estrada agreed with media observations that he and Duterte have a lot of common views on how to push the country forward. Having the same background as local chief executives, Estrada vowed to support the peace and order initiatives of Duterte.

“Let’s give him (Duterte) a chance,” Estrada urged even as he supported goddaughter Grace Poe for president.

Hopefully this redux of the Estrada presidency ends with the common style of governance with equally tough-talking president-elect Duterte. Redux comes from the Latin verb reducere, meaning “to lead back,” and can mean “brought back,” or “bringing back.”

This early, Duterte’s arch political enemy, losing vice presidential candidate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV threatened to initiate impeachment against the incoming president. Incidentally, Trillanes slipped out last Wednesday for unknown destination abroad. Redux?



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