MANILA, Philippines - Leave it to Manila’s so-called Dirty Harry to rekindle his war against Asiong Salonga on Andres Bonifacio Day.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim twitted Asiong Salonga, a film character based on a 1960s gangster, in his Bonifacio Day speech outside Manila City Hall this morning. The character was portrayed in a movie by former president Joseph Estrada, Lim’s opponent in the mayoral race next year.
In his speech, Lim paid tribute to Bonifacio's heroism, citing that he was born in Manila's Tondo area.
Lim deplored that while Bonifacio is being recognized, Manila's criminal elements are also being glamorized.
"Unang-una, pinatutunayan ni Bonifacio na ang Maynila ay lungsod ng mga bayani, na itinuturing na unang bayaning nagbuwis ng buhay para sa bayan... Totoo na ang Maynila ay mayroon ding mga hoodlum, gangster at kaaway ng batas na gaya ni Asiong Salonga,” he said.
“Sinasabi ko lang po sa inyo ang totoo, dahil ako ay nalulungkot ba't isinasapelikula ang buhay ng isang gangster. Itong Asiong Salonga, baka di nyo alam, nasentensyahan ito, pumuga, sa city jail naaresto sa illegal possession of firearms, robbery with homicide at iba iba pa. Ito po ang record hanggang sa napatay siya ng kanyang kaaway sa kanilang partihan sa pang ho-holdap. Ito po ang tunay na Asiong Salonga."
While Lim did not directly name Estrada, he kept on lambasting "Asiong Salonga," who died long ago.
"Kailangan nating muling ibantayog ang dating kadakilaan ng Maynila, ang mahal nating lungsod. Gamitin nating halimbawa si Gat Andres Bonifacio. Isang malinis, marangal, wagas at masinop na paglilingkod, hindi pagsasamantala sa pwesto o pagpapayaman sa pwesto, na nanakawin ang kwarta ng bayan. Hindi po yan ang Maynila."
Estrada was convicted for plunder in 2007 after being deposed from the presidency but was later pardoned by his successor, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
‘Asiong’ strikes back
Estrada would rebut Lim later in the day at the oath taking of his supporters at the Ninoy Aquino stadium in Manila.
Estrada said it is right that Lim does away with criminals, but he should also address kotong cops and hoodlums in robes.
Lim was a former policeman, NBI director, senator and once served as Estrada's interior and local government secretary before becoming senator.
Estrada twitted Lim for criticizing the Asiong Salonga movies, saying that movies about Lim's life were flops. "Nilangaw,” he said.
He also recalled that Lim sought Estrada's endorsement in 2010. He said Lim would not have become mayor again without his (Estrada's) endorsement.
Estrada said the so-called Erap magic is still with him, noting his supporters have not left him. He said the same people who voted for him as president in 1998 were still the same voters in 2010.
The former president deplored that Manila has deteriorated under Lim's watch.
Estrada and Lim are running for mayor of Manila in the 2013 elections.
Estrada's son Jinggoy, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and UNA senatorial candidates Tingting Cojuangco, Ernesto Maceda and Dick Gordon did their own versions of the Gangnam dance craze, which was been reworded to be Estrada's Manila campaign theme song.
Both Estrada and Lim both tried to extol Bonifacio in their speeches today. In an apparent rebuttal of Lim, he also pointed out that he was born in Tondo like Bonifacio.