MANILA - A debate between former President Joseph Estrada and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim turned ugly Tuesday as the two candidates for Manila mayor traded insults on live television.
The Umagang Harapan face-off on ABS-CBN's morning show Umagang Kay Ganda became rowdy as supporters of the two candidates punctuated the debate with cheers and catcalls.
Estrada, who won the presidency in 1998, said he pitied Lim and appointed him Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government after the latter placed fourth in the 1998 presidential race.
However, he said Lim betrayed him when he joined the so-called EDSA Dos revolt that deposed Estrada in 2001 due to corruption allegations.
"Nung nagkakagulo sa Malacanang, nagpaalam sa akin 'Sir, lalabas na ako at aayusin ko yung mga pulis.' Baka makapasok dito [ang mga raliyista]. Ang ginawa niya dire-derecho siya sa EDSA Dos at ako'y iniwan. Iniwan ako," he said.
The former president said he forgave Lim when the latter visited him in his Tanay resthouse in 2004 and allegedly begged his forgiveness. He said Lim was crying when he asked that he be included in the opposition senatorial lineup of Fernando Poe Jr.
"E bakit nung 2005, pumunta siya sa Tanay binisita ako at umiiyak pa. Umiiyak. Ang daming testigo nun. Patawarin daw siya sa pagkakamali niya, patawarin, patawarin. Tapos, umiiyak. Sobra iyak. Basang basa na yung panyo niya. Sabi ko tapos na yan. Natapos na iyan. E hindi na natin maibabalik yan. Tapos umiiyak pa rin. Tapos nakiusap 'Sir, pwede ba ako makasama sa lineup ni FPJ?'"
For his part, Lim denied weeping in front of Estrada and begging his forgiveness. He said he would never cry in front of Estrada whom he described as a liar and a criminal.
He also said Estrada used the same insult against Sen. Francis Escudero when he said the senator wept and begged his forgiveness.
"Ako umiiyak pag naaalala ko lola ko. Pero hindi ako iiyak sa isang kriminal, sa isang magnanakaw. Hinuhuli ko yan. Iniimbestigahan ko. Anong sinasabi niyang umiiyak? Ganyan rin ang paninira niya kay Chiz Escudero e. Umiyak daw e.E kanina ini-interview si Chiz. Kasinungalingan daw. Iisa lang ang linya niya. Iiyak. Bakit ako iiyak sa kanya? Mali yung sinasabi niya," he said.
Lim admitted abandoning Estrada during the EDSA Dos revolt because he was accused of getting billions of pesos in tobacco excise taxes and jueteng kickbacks. Estrada was later convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan but was pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
"Lumayo ako sa kanya. Pinagsamantalahan niya ang kwarta ng gobyerno. Yun ang reklamo ni Chavit Singson. Kaya nga siya na-convict. He is the only president who was convicted for plunder. Plunder yan ha. Hindi jaywalking. Ill-gotten wealth. Hanggang ngayon pinababayaran sa kanya yung multa na more than P500 million. Ang naibayad lang niya yung P290 million, kulang pa nung P200 million," he said.
Where’s your birth certificate?
The former president pointed out there was no reason for Lim to visit him in his Tanay resthouse but to ask a favor to be included in the opposition ticket. He claimed there are pictures of Lim crying during his visit.
He also challenged Lim to produce his birth certificate after the mayor said he was born in Tondo.
Lim then turned the tables on Estrada, saying that the former president should quit the race if he produces his birth certificate.
“Hahamunin ko si President Estrada, kung maipakita ko yung birth certificate ko na pinanganak ako sa Tondo, ha, aatras ka ba? Kung hindi ko naipakita yung birth certificate ko na ipinanganak ako sa Tondo, ako naman ang aatras. O yan. Kahit bukas ibibigay ko yung birth certificate,” he said.
Estrada said Lim should not be too fast in issuing a challenge, to which Lim retorted: “E sinungaling ka e.”
The former president then merely pointed out Lim did not have his birth certificate with him. He then poked fun at Lim: “O naiiyak na e.”
Lim then told the audience: “See, he’s lying in front of you. He said I was crying when I am not. Galit na galit ako sa kasinungalingan niya.
The mayor also took up the challenge that he would resign if it is proven that he ordered the arrest of Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno during a bingo game. He said he didn’t even know about Moreno’s arrest until later that day.
Sins of the sons
Estrada also turned his attention on the criminal case filed against Lim's son, businessman Manuel S. Lim, who was arrested for allegedly selling drugs in a buy-bust operation.
The former president noted the younger Lim did not go to jail but was released after the case against him was dropped.
"Ang masasabi ko yung galit siya sa drugs pero ang anak niya nahuli sa drugs. Nakulong ba ang anak niya? Ang anak niya arestado. Yug pulis napag-initan natanggal pa. Itanong o sa kanya pangalan ng anak niya," he said.
He said Lim's "shame campaign" against drug pushers in Manila was in stark contrast to his son's drug problem.
For his part, Lim admitted that his son became a drug user but noted that he was framed by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives. He said the 4 PDEA agents involved in the buy-bust operation were dismissed by the agency after they were found guilty of extortion in a separate case in Laguna.
"Yung anak ko totoo naging adik yan e. Na-frame- up yan kaya na-abswelto. E pero bakit ho pinag-uusapan natin yung anak? E yung anak niya, naaresto din may binugbog pa na babae tungkol sa drugs. Linakad niya ang asunto," he said.
"Na-frame-up ang anak ko kaya na-abswelto. Bakit niya kinakaladkad dito?"
He told Estrada: "Wag yung mga anak. Tayo ang mag-usap. tayo ang kandidato e."
Estrada said Manila under Lim's leadership is now a nest of criminals and even pointed to a newspaper article that dubbed the city a "carjack capital."
He said even policemen are now involved in crimes in Manila. The former president said that as the capital of the Philippines, Manila is now lagging behind neighboring cities such as Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong and San Juan.
Lim, a former police official who was dubbed "Dirty Harry" for his uncompromising stance against crime during his NBI days, said he has ordered the dismissal of 45 policemen who were linked to various crimes in Manila.
He also said he helped build 2 hospitals that give free healthcare to indigents in Manila.
Lim denied withholding allowances to teachers but admitted stopping the allowances of police officers on the advice of the Commission on Audit because it is against the law.