Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Estrada skips debate for meeting with Mindanao execs

Deposed president Joseph Estrada wanted to attend the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s presidential forum on Monday but had to meet a delegation of more than 100 political leaders from Mindanao in the morning.
Asked whether he was holding a grudge that prevented him from attending the event, Estrada said: “Wala. Gusto ko ngang mapalapit sa Inquirer, e [There’s none. In fact, I really want to be closer to the Inquirer].” (The Inquirer was among the dailies that hit hard on the Estrada administration’s corruption in year 2000. Estrada was ousted via a military-backed civilian uprising after his impeachment proceedings collapsed when his allies blocked a documentary evidence in January 2001.)
Estrada said the political leaders came from Lanao Del Sur and Cotabato.
“If I didn’t meet them, they’d stay for one more day and I’d have to spend for their hotel and food. That would have been expensive,” Estrada said with a laugh.
Moreover, Estrada said he had attended several presidential forums and wanted to concentrate on picking up his performance in the election surveys by meeting the electorate in his campaign sorties.
“I have to catch up,” Estrada said.
Estrada said that after his party’s kick-off campaign on Tuesday in Plaza Miranda, he and runningmate Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay would motor to northern Luzon for the first part of the campaign.


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