Today my news feeds on Facebook and Twitter were rattled by news of former president Joseph Estrada as he is “officially” sworn in by another former president–of the Senate this time–in the person of Juan Ponce Enrile as the new mayor of Manila.
In true Erap fashion, he wasted no time in declaring himself to be the first ex-convict mayor of my beloved city of Manila. An obvious “fuck you” to his critics and opponents in this election. Trust his spin-doctors to capitalize on Erap’s negatives to turn it into another object for the adoration and adulation of the masses. Remember how he used his weak English speaking skills with that Book “Erap-tions” that endeared him even to those who didn’t like him when he was president?
And comparing his conviction with that of Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Anwar Ibrahim, and Ninoy Aquino was the height of audacity and gall. Again, in true Erap fashion, he forgets that the four world icons of freedom he dared to align with were convicted by dictators and despots. While he, at best, was a plunderer who did not have the foresight to deposit his jueteng loot in off-shore accounts and sign documents in his pseudonym in privacy instead of in front a potential witness. Hence, his conviction was a walk in the park compared to that of other plunderers.
I’m sure Erap and company are having a hoot as they enjoy the support of people who are not able to separate Erap the movie star from Erap the convicted plunderer. They say Erap will do in Manila what he did in San Juan. Dare I ask: what the heck did he do in San Juan other than to transfer its leadership to one of his mistresses? After his promise of one term as mayor, should we expect Laarni Enriquez to run in his stead? If this happens–poor Isko! His becoming a balimbing (turn-coat) would be for naught.
But for my city’s sake. I honestly hope that Erap does well. Ironic as it may sound, he says stamping corruption will be the centerpiece of his administration. Let’s see if this promise holds up in the coming days. For sure, his administration’s each and every accomplishment will be trumpeted by the media. I’m hoping he won’t bully his critics the way he did back when he was president.
I hope Manila doesn’t become another San Juan. Emulating Marikina or Olongapo is a far better goal. I hope my fingers don’t break from being crossed all the time. I hope.