Erap to irk GMA with Senate line up

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — OUSTED President Joseph Estrada has his own way of further irritating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

And this is, according to one of his closest allies, to include in the opposition’s senatorial lineup personalities which President Arroyo thinks are supporters of her administration.

The source, a respected member of the House minority bloc, said Estrada knows that the President will be further irked if such persons, who supported his impeachment and eventual downfall, will be included in his senatorial lineup.

The source was obviously referring to Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. and Senators Ralph Recto and Francis Pangilinan.

Villar and Recto were congressmen when Villar, who was then the House Speaker, transmitted to the Senate the Articles of Impeachment against Estrada, a move that eventually led to his ouster in a police and military-backed civilian uprising in January 2001.

“Erap (Estrada) can forgive, but he cannot forget such treachery,” according to another source in the opposition.

This same source agreed with the earlier source that the scheme hatched by Estrada will further alienate the concerned individuals from Malacañang which he said, cannot come up with a strong ticket that could support President Arroyo in the Senate.

They said Arroyo wants a supportive Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives — to escape impeachment, aware that she still could be impeached even if she eluded the two impeachment complaints filed against her.

Estrada’s close ally said the former president was speaking from experience, citing his own impeachment which succeeded after Villar, Recto and several other members of the former president’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party turned against him.

At the Senate, which was then dominated by Estrada’s supporters, Senators Franklin Drilon and Aquilino Pimentel Jr., both of the PMP, later joined the opposition after Estrada’s lawyers refused to open the second envelope purportedly containing pieces of evidence against him.

The move precipitated the civilian uprising that eventually resulted in Estrada’s ouster.

The source added that those who are supposed to be “pro-administration” individuals but who are included in Estrada’s senatorial slate “have no other choice but to stick with Estrada because they can no longer go back to the side of the administration.”

“Nakakahiya naman kung gagawin nila iyon,” Estrada’s ally said. “Besides there is no strong ticket that they can join in the senatorial election next year.”

Aside from Villar, Recto — who are both members of the Nacionalista Party — and Pangilinan, those included in Estrada’s short list of senatorial candidates are House Minority Leader Francis Joseph Escudero (NPC, Sorsogon), House Deputy Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, former Senators Loren Legarda-Leviste, Gregorio Honasan, Teresa Aquino-Oreta, John Osmeña and Vicente Sotto, lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and san Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, Estrada’s son by former actress Guia Gomez.