Race is on for Erap, Binay

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — AMID legal questions, former President Joseph Estrada yesterday officially announced that he will seek the presidency once again with Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Jojo” Binay as his running mate in 2010.

Estrada told thousands of cheering supporters at the Plaza Amado Hernandez in Tondo that the fight of the masses will continue.

He vowed to restore sweeping reforms in a country plagued by corruption, lawlessness, and government inefficiency to uplift the miserable condition of Filipinos.

The two opposition stalwarts will be running under the PDP-Laban-Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino banner.

”Walang iwanan, walang atrasan, ngayon na, oras na,” Binay said after ending his 15-minute speech.

Binay stressed the need for a new leadership and a pro-poor government.

“Lalung naghirap ang sambayanan sa ilalim ng pamunuan ng kasalukuyang gobyerno. Sa ilalim ng pamunuan ni President Estrada, ito ay lahat magbabago,” he said.

Binay stressed the next president need to improve the plight of the people through economic reforms and to ensure that reforms will be felt by the masses.

“Huwag natin hayaan sa kamay ng mga bagong pinuno ang kinabukasan ng ating bayan. Si President Estrada as subok na bilang isang magaling na pinuno. Kaya muli natin siyang iluk-lok sa gobyerno natin,” Binay said.

Estrada was joined by his supporters led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, wife Loi, and former Sen. Ernie Maceda.

ZTE broadband scandal whistleblower Joey de Venecia was also in attendance.

Margaux Salcedo, Estrada’s spokesman, said the Erap-Binay tandem will carry the slogan “Tapat sa Mahirap, Samahang Tunay” and a platform of anti-poverty, food security, anti-corruption, peace and order and environmental sustainability programs.

Estrada, 72, was convicted of plunder but was pardoned.