Erap tags Lim in Manila melee

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2013 09:46 PM | Updated as of Feb 19 2013 08:53 AM

Lim: Moreno dared cops to arrest him

MANILA (UPDATE) - Former President Joseph Estrada on Monday accused election rival Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim of being the alleged brains behind the arrest of Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and 5 councilors during a bingo game Saturday.

Estrada, in an interview with radio dzMM, said police won't lift a finger against the city officials without order from Lim.

"Hindi gagalaw ang pulis kung hindi utos ng mayor," he said.

"Balewala ang peace covenant na pinirmahan namin," he added.

Moreno is Estrada's running mate in the May midterm elections, with the former President challenging Lim in the Manila mayoralty race.

Estrada quoted police as saying they got orders from higher-ups to stop the bingo draw and arrest Moreno and the councilors.

"Sila ang nagsabi na utos ng itaas. Ayaw nilang sabihin kung sino," he said.

Police arrested Moreno and 5 councilors for alleged illegal gambling but were later released for lack of evidence.

A police officer involved in the case also accused Estrada of allegedly punching him Sunday while his allies' release was being processed.

Estrada denied the incident.

"Ang hirap sa kanila, gumagawa sila ng isyu," he said. "Unang-una, presinto iyun."

He declined to confirm his alleged threat of sacking police officers involved in the case if he becomes Manila mayor.

"Hindi ko masasabi iyun kasi hindi pa nga nag-uumpisa ang eleksyon," Estrada said.

He said the bingo draw is not illegal gambling. "Hindi naman labag sa batas. Nagbi-bingo lang 'yung mga tao. Hindi naman gambling ang bingo."

Estrada added that they sue the police officers involved in the case.

"We'll file the necessary charges," he said. "We'll see them in court."

Lim, in a separate interview with radio dzMM, belied Estrada's allegations.

"Wala namang katotohanan ang sinasabi ni Erap," he said.

"Hindi ko alam iyun (arrest of Moreno and councilors). Wala akong alam dun," Lim said.

He added that he can't give direct orders to a police precint commander.

"Ako, as mayor, hindi pwedeng magbigay ng order sa precinct commander," he said. "Dadaan muna dapat sa chief of police."

Lim also claimed that Moreno dared police to arrest him, which sparked the melee.

"Hinamon ni Isko Moreno ang precinct commander na hulihin siya," he said.

He also rubbished Moreno's claim that under the law, bingo is no longer considered gambling.

"May bago nang batas. Pampamilya lang ang bingo," Lim said.