FORMER President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Tuesday warned he will part ways with President Benigno Aquino III and fight back if his administration tries to oust him from the Manila City Hall.
His sons Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito, both senators, earlier revealed a plot allegedly hatched by Malacañang to unseat him.
The mayor’s sons claim they have received information from their friends and sources in the Supreme Court and the Commission on Elections that Malacañang is “hell-bent” on removing Estrada from city hall by disqualifying him.
The Supreme Court is deliberating on Estrada’s disqualification case filed by Alicia Risos-Vidal, the lawyer of Alfredo Lim, the former mayor of Manila and Estrada’s closest political rival.
Vidal claims that Estrada is ineligible to run for any elective position or office because that is one of the conditions for his pardon, but Estrada claims that his pardon restored his political and civil rights.
Estrada was toppled from the presidency in 2001 following allegations of corruption, an impeachment trial that was cut short, and widespread calls for his resignation.
In September 2007 the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court found him guilty of plunder and sentenced him to life imprisonment, but he was eventually pardoned by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, his successor and now representative of Pampanga.
Lim who was seeking a third-term in the May 2013 elections, lost to Estrada by a wide margin.
Estrada said Malacañang seemed to have “a systematic plan” to unseat him, but he promised to fight back.
He questioned the timing of the disqualification case, saying a similar case was rejected by the Manila Regional Trial Court, the Commission on Elections and the Sandiganbayan.
He said three disqualification cases were filed against him during the campaign period for the 2013 presidential elections, but all three cases were dismissed.
He was allowed to run for President in 2010, so why would he not be allowed to run for mayor?
Jinggoy Estrada had earlier told Senate reporters there was an “unseen hand” working to remove the Estradas and Ejercitos from the political arena.
He said his political persecution started after it was reported he was eying a higher position in the 2016 elections.
Jinggoy, who was detained at the PNP Custodial Center on Monday over the plunder and graft charges against him in connection with the pork-barrel scam, said he, Enrile and Revilla were being singled out in the “selective investigation” of the alleged illegal diversion of the lawmakers’ pork barrel funds because they belonged to the opposition.
But Jinggoy said he was confident he could prove his innocence because he did nothing wrong. His father stood by him and insisted his son was innocent but careless.
“I have no fear because I believe that my son can defend himself,” Joseph Estrada said.
He said his son spent two-and-a-half years in jail for plunder but was eventually cleared by the Sandiganbayan.
Ejercito deplored Malacanang’s elimination process involving the opposition in the Senate and his own family.
“It appears they are eliminating all of us,” Ejercito said.
“I don’t know if it was just a coincidence. Just recently they disqualified my cousin ER [Ejercito]. My father, Mayor Erap, he has a pending Supreme Court disqualification and from what I’ve heard, I am also a target. They said I overspent in the last election.”