MANILA - Former Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez said he, too, will seek the presidency in 2010.
In a press conference on Monday, Jimenez said he intends to file his certificate of candidacy on December 1, the deadline set by the election commission.
Jimenez, who was born Mario Batacan Crespo, said he will run as an independent candidate.
Asked what urged him to seek the highest elected position in the land, Jimenez said it was the government's helplessness during the onslaught of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The typhoons left most of Metro Manila flooded and thousands of families displaced.
He said he is running to push for human rights and will work to increase wages of teachers and other employees.
Jimenez was one of the fair-haired advisers of former President Joseph Estrada before the latter was ousted in 2001.
Estrada had called Jimenez a "corporate genius" for reportedly brokering the takeover of Indonesia-based First Pacific Ltd. of local phone giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). Jimenez's and Estrada's roles in the deal--where reported kickbacks amounted to some P3 billion--were cited in the impeachment case against the former president.
Recently, the controversial PLDT deal returned to the spotlight after the Yuchengco patriarch, Alfonso, claimed he was coerced into selling his shares in PLDT's holding company to the First Pacific Group. Jimenez stepped in and said he was the brains behind the deal.
Incidentally, Estrada is also seeking a second chance at the presidency in the 2010 polls.
Jimenez was previously elected as a congressman representing the sixth district of Manila. He was later on indicted in the US for contributing excessively to the political campaign funds of US President Bill Clinton. Jimenez served his 2-year sentence in a US federal prison before being extradited to the Philippines.
Since his return, he had engaged in various philanthropic activities through his non-profit vehicle, the the Hulog ng Langit Foundation.
Since 2006, the foundation has extended some P700 million worth of financial assistance to a popular consumer finance sob story: the plight of the pre-need industry victims. He said he has helped those those who availed of the financial products from troubled firms, Yuchengco-led Pacific Plans, Sobrepena-led College Assurance Plans and the Colayco-led Professional Group. - with reports from Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News - with reports from Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News