Erap, Lim, Isko: A three-corner fight for Manila mayor

October 16, 2018 - 12:19 PM
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, an ousted former president of the Philippines, leads an oath-taking ceremony in October 2018. (Manila gov't photo)

Manila will see a three-way race among reelectionist Joseph “Erap” Estrada, former Mayor Alfredo Lim and Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, social welfare undersecretary.

All three officials have expressed their desires to bid for the local seat in previous months. So far, only Lim and Moreno have filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections office in Intramuros.

Estrada is running for his third and last consecutive term as Manila mayor, which he held since 2013 following his ouster from presidency.

In January 2001, he was overthrown by a series of street demonstrations in front of EDSA shrine, collectively called the People Power II. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was then his vice president, was eventually sworn in to take his place.

In 2007, Estrada was found guilty of plunder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was later pardoned by his successor, Arroyo.

Last race before retirement

On June 12, Estrada announced his team-up with former Rep. Amado Bagatsing, fifth district of Manila, who was his political competitor in the mayoralty race in 2016.

Both Estrada and Bagatsing head their own political parties, the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran, respectively. Bagatsing is the son of late mayor Ramon Bagatsing, the longest running mayor of Manila.

If he wins, Estrada said he will aim to make Manila drug-free before he finally retires.

“I have saved the city from bankruptcy. I am running again to complete my vision for Manila to regain its old glory as the premier city of the country and as the Pearl of the Orient,” Estrada, a former movie star, said.

Main political rival

Alfredo Lim
Former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, whose lapses led to the failed operation during the hostage taking of Hong Kong visitors in Manila in 2010.

Lim, also known as “Dirty Harry,” seeks another chance to lead Manila again after Estrada defeated him in the 2013 and 2016 mayoral elections.

Prior to this, he also lost to Estrada in the presidential elections in 1998. Estrada, in return, appointed him as the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Both Estrada and Lim had a bad record of trading insults on a TV show in 2013 and on social media in 2016.

Back then, Lim was notorious for his anti-narcotics and anti-crime campaign in the city or the notorious “womb-to-tomb” program back when he was still mayor, thus earning the “Dirty Harry” moniker.

Lim, who will be the eldest candidate among the three, became the mayor of Manila from 1992 to 1998 and from 2007 to 2013.

In March, he defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against the proliferation of illegal drugs and crime in the country today being similar to his own stance before. The next month, Lim suddenly jumped ship from the opposition Liberal Party to Duterte’s ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party.

It was only in June when he was formally endorsed as PDP-Laban’s candidate for the mayoral ticket in the upcoming mid-term polls.

Lim has yet to introduce his vice mayor for the political race.

The youngest contender

Isko Moreno
Former Manila vice mayor Isko Moreno has switched government posts several time under the Aquino administration.

Isko Moreno Domagoso, a former actor like Estrada, is the youngest among the three mayoral candidates.

Moreno first worked as vice mayor of Manila when Lim was the mayor in 2007.

Unfortunately, his political relations with Lim immediately turned bitter when he decided to run alongisde Estrada in the 2013 elections.

In 2012, Moreno alleged that Lim issued grave threats against him and 28 Manila councilors. He alleged anew in 2013 that Lim was behind his arrest at a bingo game in a barangay.

Lim denied making such threats.

In 2016, he made his first Senate bid with PMP, but lost. The vice mayor of Manila that time was Maria Sheila Lacuna-Pangan.

For 2019, Lacuna-Pangan or Honey Lacuna left Estrada’s side and joined Moreno as his running-mate for next year’s mid-term polls. They filed their certificates of candidacy last week, October 12, a day after Moreno tendered his resignation as DSWD undersecretary, barely five months into the job.