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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is Erap unstoppable?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

By Tony Lopez
Is Erap unstoppable?


The office of Manny Villar and Pulse Asia sent me the Pulse Asia survey results of July 28 to August 10 showing the former Senate president now leads the presidentiables race for 2010.

Villar would take 25 percent of the vote, former President Joseph Estrada 19 perccent, Vice President Noli de Castro 16 percent, Sen. Chiz Escudero 12 percent and Sen. Mar Roxas 11 percent.

Pulse Asia confirmed a separate Social Weather Stations survey of June 19 to 22, 2009, showing that Villar and Estrada are now the top two contenders for the presidency. Both have come from the bottom from a year to two years ago. Erstwhile frontrunner de Castro is steadily losing ground. Estrada used to be last among the first seven choices. That he has climbed to within striking distance of the frontrunner nine months before May 2010 is remarkable. He has yet to peak.

However, Erap is devilled by two questions—his legal qualification to run and his qualification to run. Legally, he is not supposed to be allowed to run again because presidents are banned from any reelection. Erap's legal advisers maintain the ban is on immediate reelection by an incumbent president and reelection by those who have served office for at least four years. He served only for 30 months. Gloria Arroyo served the 42 months remainder of Erap's six years yet she was allowed to run and win in 2004. So legally Erap can win his case before the Supreme Court.

Now as to Erap's qualification for the presidency, former Sen. Ernesto Maceda makes a compelling case. Here is Maceda:

We submit that President Joseph "Erap" Estrada is the best choice to lead the country in the next six years for the following reasons:

He is the most experienced of all the candidates—17 years as mayor, five years as senator, six years as vice president and Cabinet member and two and a half years as president. These amount to a total of 30 and a half years of executive and legislative experience.

He is the most mature. As a senior citizen, he will be the oldest to serve. Like President Ronald Reagan, who was elected at 73 and served for two terms and was considered one of the best US presidents; Nelson Mandela, who was elected the first president of South Africa at age 84 and received a Nobel Peace Prize; Charles de Gaulle, who served as president of France until he was 79; and German Chancelor Helmut Kohl, also in his late years, Estrada brings the wisdom of the ages to the job.

Will a 40-year-old, a 45-year-old or a 52-year-old with young children in school not think of insuring his family's future? At 73, President Erap's only purpose in life is to serve God and the poor in the last years of his life.

He has no businesses to favor or to protect.

He is a survivor and has survived several baptisms of fire and is now steeled against any new challenges he may face.

He continues to retain the trust of his countrymen, as is proven in surveys, something that is necessary to get people's confidence in and cooperation with his administration.

After six and a half years of detention he did a lot of meditation, introspection, prayers and Bible study, he has undergone the necessary purification and conversion, which has brought him closer to God and has given him a fresh outlook in life and makes him better prepared to hold the reins of government.

He wouldn't be a dictator. Having been unjustly charged and detained, he has walked in the shoes of the oppressed, which provides him with the perspective to wield the sword of government with objective balance and restraint. He wouldn't be dictatorial.

He is the only person who has demonstrated the political will to fight the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and New People's Army insurgencies. He captured 46 MILF camps and routed the secessionists. He will never agree to the creation of a Bangsamoro state in Mindanao, in gross violation of the Constitution. If you continue a GMA administration, the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain will be revived.

In view of his age, his stature and his forgiving nature, he will be in the best position to unify all the defeated factions after the elections. It would be difficult for the warring senators who ran for president to unite after losing the elections to their sworn enemies.

Over and above all these, President Erap has one overarching quality that separates him from the other presidentiables—he has a big heart, a generous heart, a forgiving heart and most of all, a loving heart for the poor.

Erap is a known quantity, predictable and definitely a democrat with a golden heart.

He is not only the best choice. He is also the safest choice.

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