NEWSFLASH

ESTRADA LIKELY TO ENDORSE DANDING IN '04 ELECTIONS

MANILA, January 15, 2003 (STAR)  Since President Arroyo is not seeking re-election in 2004, former President Joseph Estrada said yesterday he is likely to endorse businessman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, among other candidates.

Estrada said opposition political parties, including his Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), will select a standard-bearer to pit against the administration’s bet in the 2004 elections.

Asked who he is likely to endorse, Estrada mentioned Cojuangco, as well as opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson and his bosom buddy, actor Fernando Poe Jr. "They are the opposition’s potential candidates," he said at a press conference after his Senate testimony yesterday.

Asked if he will seek the presidency anew in 2004, Estrada said in jest, "maybe, if (former) President (Fidel) Ramos runs."

Ramos is barred by the 1987 Constitution from seeking another term as president. The Charter imposes a one-term limit for all presidents of the Republic.

During his testimony before the Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises chaired by Sen. John Osmeña, Estrada said the Arroyo administration "unconstitutionally" removed him from power.

The former president also said he isn’t keen on being placed under house arrest at his residence, No. 1 Polk st. in North Greenhills, San Juan, where his wife, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito also lives.

Estrada said he prefers that the Sandiganbayan allow his son, former San Juan mayor Jinggoy Estrada, and lawyer Edward Serapio to post bail than have him placed under house arrest. – Sammy Santos


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