MANILA - Malacanang on Friday denied it is out to unseat former President Joseph Estrada as mayor of the city of Manila.
This, after the Supreme Court gave due course to a disqualification case filed against the former President.
This means that the high court will tackle the merits of a petition seeking to disqualify Estrada from last year's mayoralty race.
The disqualification case argues that Estrada's conviction for plunder and his being sentenced to life imprisonment rendered him disqualified to run for public office.
Former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, whom Estrada defeated in the 2013 local elections, earlier requested and was allowed by the high court to "intervene" or take part in the disqualification case.
Lim is a partymate of President Benigno Aquino in the Liberal party.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma was asked if the administration is behind moves to unseat Estrada as local chief executive.
"No, we are not," Coloma said.
The development came just as the Commission on Elections disqualified Estrada's nephew, ER Ejercito, in the Laguna gubernatorial election for overspending.
Coloma said the Palace respects the Comelec's decision on the Ejercito case.
"The law on campaign spending is clear. [The] Comelec decision was based on verified and documented expenses," he said.
Aside from the Manila mayor and the Laguna governor, Estrada's 2 sons Senators Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito have been dragged into the pork barrel scam. The brothers have maintained their innocence.
The Ejercitos are allied with the political opposition.