Lito Atienza's Blog

Lito Atienza + Erap Estrada = Manila? | February 1, 2010


“Apart from their mutual admiration and endorsements, both Atienza and Estrada believe in helping the poor – Erap para sa Mahirap; Atienza para sa Masa.”

by Ducky Paredes
Columns from Malaya and Abante – Edition 2010 – 31

The mutual endorsements of former President Joseph Estrada and former Manila Mayor and former Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza for each other are potent and natural. Erap’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Atienza’s Liberal Party in Manila have teamed up.

This could win Manila for both Erap and Lito. The two have always been friends. In fact, when Estrada was forced to leave Malacanang during Edsa Dos, Atienza was there up to the end.

Atienza believed then as a lot of others did, that deposing Erap outside of a successful impeachment was unconstitutional, which it is. Estrada thought the same way which is why he agreed to an impeachment trial which was taken over by mob rule and a conspirator – the Supreme Court — that ruled Erap as having virtually or “constructively” resigned. There is no such thing. Yet, Erap was removed from the presidency.

In contrast, incumbent Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who has been endorsed by the Liberal Party of former Senate President Franklin Drilon, was at the time of EDSA Dos, an Erap cabinet member. Excusing himself from an ongoing cabinet meeting, Lim surprised everyone, including Estrada, when he was shown on television as having joined the Arroyo uprising.

But, Erap is not anything if he is not big hearted. He apparently forgave Lim because Estrada endorsed Fred Lim and included him in the PMP senatorial ticket in 2004. Lim won. Erap supported Lim again in 2007 against Lito Atienza’s son.

Mayor Atienza, for his part, headed a faction of the Liberal Party that pledged support to the Arroyo administration amid the “Hello Garci” controversy in 2004.

Lito was, of course, only being true to himself. Like Estrada he is a stickler for following and protecting the Constitution. Thus, he supported Erap when they booted him out in violation of the Constitution and supported Gloria from those who would also unconstitutionally depose her. For that, Lito was kicked out of the LP.

More than 5,000 supporters cheered Estrada’s announcement of the coalition between the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Atienza Liberal wing.

Ranged against them is the coalition of the Drilon Liberals and Lim’s KKK party (Kapayapaan, Katarungan at Kaunlaran).

Lim, who, as a PMP elected mayor, headed PMP in Manila, began losing Erap’s support as early as 2008, when retired Gen. Roberto Calinisan of the PMP, resigned as Lim’s consultant for security and police affairs. Calinisan and Estrada got Lim elected in 2007 under the former Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino. Calinisan told the press then: ““Mayor Lim did not resign from the PMP. The PMP leadership removed him as president of the party.”

The official PMP announcement says that Estrada has accepted the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)-LP Atienza wing coalition because Erap feels it is Atienza who will be able to carry out Estrada’s pro-poor program in Manila.

PMP spokesman lawyer Ralph Calinisan, said: “There is an urgent need to effect change in Manila. The residents of Manila deserve better governance.”

According to the PMP, over the past couple of years, it has received numerous reports of Lim’s transgressions with the poor while serving as Manila mayor. Calinisan noted that Lim totally forgot about the common people after he was elected into office.

Reports state, among others, that under Lim’s watch, housing projects in Baseco in Tondo and the housing project intended for teachers were discontinued. Also, hospital machines were ill maintained and medicines were utterly lacking. Vendors also pay stiff “fees” just to do business.

Calinisan says: “It is thus necessary to support a mayoralty candidate who has his priorities straight. Mayor Lito Atienza has proven many times over that he has what it takes to uplift the lives of the masses. We welcome Secretary Atienza’s bid to work with the PMP.”

For his part, Atineza says: “Former President Estrada’s intense adherence to the rule of law, even allowing himself to be prosecuted and jailed for almost seven years made him the victim of the Constitution.”

Atienza adds “that having bowed to the canons of the nation’s charter, and by standing firmly by the language of the rule of law at the height of his power as a sitting President, Estrada gave himself the noble and distinguished mark of a leader.”

Apart from their mutual admiration and endorsements, both Atienza and Estrada believe in helping the poor – Erap para sa Mahirap; Atienza para sa Masa.

That should produce synergy, which happens when the effect of the whole is greater than what the different parts could have produced when working alone. Certainly, with Erap for him, Atienza would be doing bettering places like Tondo where Erap has a good following and Erap would do better in Manila as a whole where Atienza still has substantial support.

Who will win in Manila? The main contenders are Noynoy for President and Fred Lim for mayor; Lito for Mayor and Erap for President; and Gibo for President and Razon for mayor.

It should become interesting when the campaign for LGU positions begins in March.

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