Erap not yet supporting any presidential candidate
MANILA - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has thrown his support behind the senatorial candidacy of Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who belongs to a group that actively called for his ouster as president 14 years ago.
Estrada, who often faced protests by progressive groups when he was president, said Colmenares is the first senatorial candidate in the 2016 elections that he is endorsing.
Estrada cited Colmenares's achievements, including stopping an increase in electricity rates.
"I believe in him and his vision for the country. Ang mga katulad ni Neri ang kailangan natin sa Senado (We need the likes of Neri at the Senate)," Estrada told the crowd at the 3rd Makabayan National Congress.
"Kongresista pa nga lang ay ang dami nang nagawa ni Neri para sa taumbayan (Neri has already done a lot for our countrymen as a congressman)," he added. "Ano pa kaya 'pag siya'y naging ating senador? (What more once he becomes senator?)"
Estrada was ousted as president amid allegations of corruption during the 2nd EDSA People Power Revolution, where groups like Bayan Muna played a part.
But the past did not seem to affect the present.
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Estrada said, "Past is past. The weak cannot forgive, but forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. I always forgive. I want to remain strong."
In his speech, Estrada said he was honored Makabayan chose Manila as venue for its convention. He said he had the San Andres Sports Complex's renovation rushed in time for the event.
Estrada heralded his accomplishments when he was president, such as keeping the MRT fare and water rates low. He also defended his declaration of all-out war against Muslim secessionists in Mindanao in 2000 despite widespread criticism.
Aside from Colmenares, Estrada is not yet supporting any other candidate in the 2016 elections.
Estrada has not yet made a choice among the three politicians who have declared their presidential candidacy, not even those known to be close to him: Vice President Jejomar Binay, his friend and party-mate, and Senator Grace Poe, whose father is his best friend. Besides Binay and Poe, the Liberal Party's Mar Roxas is also running for president.
READ: Jojo or Grace? Erap to endorse whoever has better platform
"Wala pa akong nakikita (I haven't found anyone to support)," Estrada told reporters. "Kailangan ilabas muna nila ang plataporma nila (They need to show me their platform first)."
Told that the candidates have already presented their plans, Estrada said those weren't enough for him.
"Ang aking prayoridad, peace and order (My priority is peace and order)," he said.
"There can never be economic growth without peace and order."