What's Erap really up to?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-11-10
Reported to be gunning for the post of Manila City Mayor in 2013, convicted former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada has been understandably very high profile lately. Sans Erap, political watchers feel that none from the currently floated probable candidates for 2013 Manila Mayor will beat incumbent Fred Lim.

Erap’s political track record shows that he has a loyal base in Manila and he also has the support of the king maker in Manila politics, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). The INC has a big voters’ base in Manila. In the 2007 mayoralty fight, Danny Lacuna was doing very well in the polls until Erap threw his support behind Fred Lim and with it the support of the INC.

Erap has denied that he is running for Manila Mayor in 2013 and your Chair Wrecker tends to believe him. It’s not for a local post but for the highest executive post in the land that Erap is gunning for – and it may not even be for himself but for his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

The nature of the issues that Erap has been riding on is national, not local. He found a fertile ground in the Basilan encounter on which to revive his idiotic mantra of all-out war in Mindanao. His 2000 all-out war had produced an estimated 1 million refugees. You can imagine the economic dislocation created by the dislocation of 1 million people, not to mention the social cost.

By forcing the dispersal of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) from its main base at Camp Abubakar, more MILF strongholds were created in Mindanao. The MILF spread out into smaller units – making the job of the military more complicated and hazardous. With more combat zones to cover, the military finds itself overstretched and easier prey for guerilla attacks.

The capture of Camp Abubakar was a mere ejection of a squatter – a real estate transaction – but it didn’t mean the end of the MILF. Whether the result of ignorance or intellectual dishonesty, Erap claimed victory over the MILF. Following their Commander-in-Chief, the military also reveled in the fantasy. The largely over entertained but under informed public bought it.

Text messages have been circulating lately praising Erap to high heavens. One text message claimed that a beneficiary of Erap’s Carabao Breeding Project in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, is now successfully exporting mozzarella cheese to Hong Kong.

Another text message not only praised Erap but hit President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) as well. It was in Filipino but in English it translates to: “P-Noy has no concern for the policemen and the soldiers. He does not care about their welfare. Erap was better. Erap sympathizes and values the lives of our soldiers.”

All over the Internet, similar poison is being spread by both identified sources and sources operating under a pseudonym. The identified sources are known staunch Erap promoters. One who sends column feeds under the name Kadafy Muamar writes the same venom that can be read in a newspaper known to be vigorously anti-P-Noy and pro-Erap.

If Erap is only gunning to be Manila Mayor in 2013, then his known allies should not be attacking P-Noy. On the contrary, good strategic thinking would dictate that Erap should motivate P-Noy not to meddle in the Manila mayoralty race. The president would not be inclined to meddle if two friends and allies are the top contenders. Attacking P-Noy would risk prodding the president to throw his full weight behind Fred Lim in the Manila mayoralty race. In Manila, the key player is the INC and the Erap camp should focus on retaining INC support.

Attacks on P-Noy only make sense when placed in a national political context. The attempt to drive a wedge between P-Noy and the policemen and soldiers is a serious national political agenda. It reeks of an attempt to destabilize the political foundations of the P-Noy presidency.

The Erap camp may not necessarily be planning a coup against P-Noy. It’s doubted if Erap could inspire a coup. The military were solidly behind his ouster in 2001 and were among the first to enlist. Not only that, the military and the police like the restoration of the merit system and the range of benefits that they’re now getting from P-Noy.

By projecting an image of the Commander-in-Chief as not being liked by his soldiers, the Erap camp is hoping that P-Noy will suffer major political erosion. They must be alarmed over the growth of the Liberal Party during this administration and want to debase its power source, which is P-Noy.

It matters not to these people if they are derailing a very clean and dedicated president, the likes of whom we have not seen for many years. It matters not to these people if they are impeding what could be our last chance to get our act together to save our nation before we reach that stage of decline when a reversal is no longer attainable. They’re only focused on their monumental egos, perks and privileges from power and the replenishment of spent plunder.

  Previous Columns:

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Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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