MANILA: Former President Joseph Estrada is the new mayor of Manila, defeating incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim by a slim margin in one of the country’s hottest political contests.
Estrada and his running mate, incumbent Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno, were proclaimed winners yesterday by the local board of canvassers after 97.5 percent of the votes were counted.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has allowed the local board of canvassers to proclaim candidates with a huge margin of votes against their opponents, provided the board sees to it that untransmitted results would no longer affect the outcome of the elections.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the move was meant to help reduce post-election tensions, speed up proclamation and lessen the workload of the poll body. He said the Comelec could still nullify the proclamation should it find errors in the computation of results.
The Comelec promulgated Resolution 9700 in allowing the canvassers to proclaim winners without clearance from the national office, National Support Centre or the commission en banc, provided that the final results would no longer be affected.
Estrada garnered 342,254 votes while Lim got 307,291. Manila’s total number of registered voters is around 900,000.
Moreno got 376,319 votes while Lim’s running-mate Lou Veloso had 225,238. Monday’s elections yielded more or less 650,000 votes. Estrada’s lead was evident at the start of canvassing on Monday night.
In a speech delivered after his proclamation, Estrada called on his opponents and Manilenos to leave politics behind and help him put Manila back on the pedestal of being one of the greatest cities of the world, the Paris of Asia.
“This is a victory of the people, of the Filipino masses. Thank you to the people of Manila,” he said as he noted that his victory is another vindication for him after his ouster from the presidency in 2001.
“I thank the great people of Manila for putting a true son of Manila at the helm of the Philippine capital city,” he added.
Shortly after the first partial result was flashed, Lim and his supporters arrived at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium where the canvassing was being held. He refused to comment on the results and said he would be a good sport and would concede should Estrada win.
“But if I win, he should also concede,” Lim said before leaving.
As of last night, Lim had yet to concede. A spokesman for Lim, who asked not to be named, said they were not issuing any statement just yet.
Estrada led in places perceived to be Lim’s political turf, including Baseco, Sampaloc, Ermita, Malate, San Nicolas, two districts of Tondo and Binondo.
Estrada said his victory is also an indication that Manilenos want to see the rebirth of Manila as the Queen City of the Pacific, the Pearl of the Orient.
“This is both a challenge and a full weight of responsibility hanging over all our shoulders, mine especially, and of the set of officials you have elected into office,” he said, adding he would not fail Manilenos and would die working to bring back the glory and pride of Manila.
“I thank you for all your support. But I also ask you to continue to support me now more than ever. I could not have won this post without you, and I can never succeed without your full support.”
The Philippine Star