MANILA, January 7, 2004 (STAR) By Mike Frialde - Ousted President Joseph Estrada will have little influence in a Fernando Poe Jr. administration, two political analysts said yesterday.

Benito Lim, a University of the Philippines political analyst, said Estrada’s power to influence Poe has been diminished by his detention.

"He (Estrada) still has a following from the E (urban poor) class of society," Lim said. "But he is now in detention and this is a problem for him. His power to influence has been somewhat diminished."

On the other hand, political analyst Antonio Gatmaitan said Poe would not likely be influenced by Sen. Edgardo Angara and Sen. Vicente Sotto III, who convinced the actor to run for president under the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP).

Gatmaitan also agreed with Lim that Estrada now has less capacity to influence Poe’s decisions.

"His influence has now been diminished," Gatmaitan said. "However, he still has a bit of influence. He could assume an advisory role and relay suggestions to FPJ which he (Poe) may or may not follow."

Lim said if Poe won in May, Estrada could not force Poe to listen to him, but could "make suggestions" based on their friendship of more than 40 years.

"(Estrada) could make suggestions, but not really order (Poe) to do anything," Lim said.

Despite his long friendship with Poe, Estrada will find it "doubly hard" to get access to Poe because of "gatekeepers" Angara and Sotto, Lim added.

Gatmaitan said Estrada could advise Poe "from time to time," but he could not assume the role of a senior adviser like Singapores Lee Kwan Yew.

"He (Estrada) will definitely not be like a senior adviser (to Poe)," he said.

However, Gatmaitan said Estrada will not abuse his closeness with Poe.

"His personality is not like that," he said. "He does not require a person to sing alleluiahs to him just because of friendship."

Gatmaitan said Estrada could share with Poe his experience in politics, and maybe teach him a thing or two on how to deal with politicians.

"He (Estrada) has a keen interest in politics," he said.

After his electoral victory, Poe, like other winning presidential bets before him, would be "transformed" and will not be easily swayed, Gatmaitan added.

Lim said Poe must become a "Teflon president" like Estrada to survive the same attacks hurled at his buddy by the upper and middle classes, including the media.

"FPJ has to prove that he too can be a Teflon president," he said. "Right now we cannot tell with all the traditional politicians surrounding him."

Lim said the surveys which showed Poe edging out the other presidentiables were made prior to the split in the opposition.

"We should wait for the next set of surveys and see whether FPJ shares the same level of popularity with Erap," he said.

"With the results of the next surveys, we will then could tell if he (Poe) could be a teflon president just like Estrada."

Lim said Poe could be hit by a barrage of criticisms as election day nears, and that he could shield himself from these attacks by surrounding himself with a circle of knowledgable advisers.

"You do not assume that you know everything," he said. "You must get people who know and are dedicated and are willing to support you."

Lim said Poe should now bare his platform of government to reassure his supporters and the other voters.

"He needs to show the people supporting him that he has a roadmap," he said. "At the moment, he is surrounded by traditional politicians and has been silent with his plans. He could later self-destruct."

Estrada was called the "Teflon president" — after the non-stick coating on cooking pans — for his apparent skill in dodging criticisms. People still voted for Estrada despite the criticisms.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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