Ex-scavenger beats ex-president: Moreno in, Estrada out as Manila mayor

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2019 01:57 AM | Updated as of May 14 2019 02:29 AM

Then Manila mayoral candidate Isko Moreno speaks at a debate on March 29, 2019. Moreno beat Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada, who failed to secure a third term. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—A rags-to-riches politician on Tuesday defeated Joseph Estrada for the Philippine capital city’s mayoralty, bringing down one of the country’s most durable political figures and likely sending him to retirement for good.

Former Vice Mayor Isko Moreno ousted the 82-year-old Estrada, who was seeking a third and final term. Estrada earlier said this would be his last election.

Moreno had 336,355 votes as of 11:40 p.m. Monday, ahead of Estrada (197,378) in 1,421 out of total 1,502 clustered precincts.

Former Mayor Alfredo Lim finished at third place.

The Board of Canvassers Manila approved the motion of Moreno's camp to lower the vote threshold which would pave the way for his proclamation. 

Moreno’s victory, aided by the last-minute backing of 2 influential religious sects, nipped Estrada’s emerging dynasty in this city, which began with the former president’s first mayoral win here in 2013.

His loss signals the “end of a political brand... that has stretched beyond its local base,” said political science professor Julio Teehankee.

DYNASTY

Prior to this year's midterm polls, Estrada had firmly established control over neighboring San Juan City’s politics for 50 years.

His sons Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito alternately succeeded him after 17 years as mayor. Ejercito’s mother, former actress Guia Gomez, is the outgoing local chief executive.

Estrada went on to become a senator, vice president, and then president in 1998, garnering 10.7 million votes, the most by any candidate for Malacañang at that time.

But allegations of corruption brought his presidency down in just 3 years, sending him to jail for plunder.

A pardon allowed Estrada to run again for president in 2010, placing second to Benigno Aquino III with 9.4 million votes.

Not wanting his political career to end in defeat, he turned to Manila where critics suspected he would eventually establish a dynasty as well. 

PAYBACK

Moreno agreed to be Estrada’s running mate in 2013 with the agreement that the former president would serve only for one term.

Estrada didn’t keep the promise of a “last hurrah” and sought reelection in 2016. Moreno ran for senator instead and lost.

The 44-year-old Moreno, the youngest of Manila’s mayoral candidates, got his payback 3 years later. 

With a poor man’s backstory and a promise to fix Manila in 10 years, the man who used to scavenge for food as a boy is now its mayor. --With a report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News