Erap-Poe UNA ticket in 2016? | Inquirer Opinion
As I See It

Erap-Poe UNA ticket in 2016?

/ 12:14 AM January 23, 2015

Dream/wish headlines for the future:

Erap-Poe is UNA team for 2016.


Binay quits politics.

That would be like FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.) running for president again. Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is the best friend and compadre of FPJ. Grace Poe is the daughter of FPJ. It was Erap who persuaded FPJ to run for president, and the latter would have won had he not been cheated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with the help of an election commissioner, according to FPJ supporters. Grace topped the last senatorial polls largely because of the continuing popularity of her late father. An Erap-Poe victory would be like FPJ claiming the presidency that was stolen from him.


Of course, Erap has said he would not run for higher office—for now. But that’s what he also said years ago when he was ousted from Malacañang, was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan, and sentenced to prison. He changed his mind, ran again for president in 2010, and finished second to Noynoy Aquino. But he pulled his running mate, Jejomar Binay, to victory, defeating Mar Roxas who had given up the presidential slot of his Liberal Party to give way to Noynoy.

The split poll results—the presidency to the LP and the vice presidency to the opposition UNA (United Nationalist Alliance)—was a result of double-crossing in both parties. More on this later.

Erap ran for mayor of Manila in 2013 and won this time. His qualification as a candidate was challenged in both cases in the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court. The Comelec ruled against the disqualification petition in the presidential contest. The petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the issue had become “moot and academic” because Erap lost the 2010 election.

Another disqualification petition was filed against Erap in the mayoralty race. This time he won.

The petitioners argued that the pardon given to Erap by GMA was premised on his promise that he would quit politics. But the high court ruled the other day that the pardon granted by GMA was “absolute” and restored Erap’s political and civil rights including the right to vote and be voted upon.

Erap is now free to run for any public office, including the presidency that was grabbed from him in the middle of his term. Even the international media agreed that the presidency was taken away from him illegally and unfairly.

Note that Erap said “for now” in his statement that he has no intention of running again for higher public office. That means he may change his mind later, as he did the first time. What if there is a clamor for him to run again for president and finish what he had started?


What are the stakes?

UNA is the opposition party formed by Erap, then Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, and Binay. Enrile is now detained on corruption charges and Binay is under investigation, also for corruption when he was mayor of Makati. The job of preserving UNA is left to Erap.

The party is 90 percent Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of Erap. Enrile and Binay brought almost nothing to the coalition, only themselves. Without Erap’s mass support, Binay could not have won as vice president.

With the increasing corruption charges brought against Binay by his former vice mayor and confidant, Ernesto Mercado, the Vice President’s poll rating has been steadily dropping. By election time, it can drop to zero.

Binay claims to be the candidate of UNA. Because of his differences with his party, PDP-Laban, which is a member of the coalition, he left it and announced that he would form his own party. He has not done that until now, which means he has no party to coalesce with UNA.

With the loss of Binay in next year’s presidential election becoming more and more probable, UNA will be reduced to almost nothing. How to save it? For Erap and Grace Poe, both FPJ’s inheritors and both very popular with the voters, to run as UNA’s standard-bearers. If UNA allows Binay to use it as his party, it may be defeat. If it fields an Erap-Poe team, it may be victory.

Now for the double-cross. Many political analysts think that both Erap and Roxas were double-crossed by their party mates.

It is no secret that groups in the LP, including members of the Aquino-Cojuangco families, dropped Roxas and supported Binay, who claims close ties with Cory Aquino. Even now, they have expressed preference for Binay, notwithstanding the fact that Roxas, the LP president, had slid down in favor of Noynoy in 2010 on the promise that he, Roxas, would be the LP candidate in 2016. That is why there was a secret “Noy-Bi” (Noynoy-Binay) campaign in 2010.

Erap was also believed to have been double-crossed by his running mate, Binay. Note that Erap lost in Makati, Binay’s bailiwick. At the miting de avance in Makati, the place was overflowing with yellow banners, the campaign color of Noynoy and the LP. On the other hand, Erap campaigned all-out for Binay. That is why Binay won and Erap lost.

With an Erap-Poe ticket in 2016, UNA would have much, much better chances. A victory would be a vindication of both FPJ and his compadre Erap.

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TAGS: Comelec, Commission on Elections, Cory Aquino, Fernando Poe Jr., Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Joseph Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Liberal Party, Mar Roxas, pdp-laban, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, United Nationalist Alliance
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