Cash, gifts in swing through 9 Cebu villages

With nine months to go before the May 11 elections, former President Joseph Estrada lost no time in barnstorming Cebu City.

He and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday accompanied local opposition leader Jonathan Guardo in a caravan to nine barangays in Cebu City’s south district.

In the heat of the midday sun , people lined the road cheering Estrada and his party who threw candies, T-shirts, playing cards and pocket calendars at the crowd.

During a stopover in Duljo Fatima, an old woman was called on stage. Who will she vote for, she was asked. She replied Guardo for congressman and Estrada for president.

On the spot Estrada gave her P1,000, Enrile gave her P100 and Marcos handed her P500.

Explaining the gesture, Enrile said “It's a symbolism that his (Estrada) heart is really for the downtrodden.

It was Estrada’s fifth visit to Cebu since he was released from jail in 2007. For Marcos, who is said to be running for senator under the opposition slate, it was his first time to set foot in Cebu in recent years.

Also in the group were Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Enrile said the “warm” reception of the people in the barangays would dispel the statement of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña that movie stars would never get the votes of Cebuanos.

The caravan kicked off about 9 a.m. at the corner M. Velez Street and V. Rama Avenue. They went to barangay Tisa.

They made stopovers in barangays Guadalupe, Punta Princessa, Inayawan, Cogon Pardo, Mambaling, Duljo Fatima and then Pasil where they had lunch with barangay officials there.

Most of these villages are headed by officials identified with the opposition.

In barangay Tisa, Estrada’s companions asked a crowd of about 1,000 people if they wanted Estrada to run again for president. They all said he should go back to Malacañang.

Estrada was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and was pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.

Estrada was in Cebu Saturday to stand as principal sponsor in the wedding of the eldest daughter of Gov. Gwen Garcia to Mayor Vincent Frasco for Liloan town.

In his whistlestop speech in Tisa, Estrada said he came back to thank the Cebuanos for supporting him and son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

He introduced Binay as his possible candidate for vice president, and Enrile and Marcos as opposition bets for senator.

He also endorsed Guardo as the opposition candidate for Cebu CIty south district congressman. Estrada recently wrapped up a TV commercial endorsing a food supplement marketed by Guardo called “Arthro”, giving Estrada free TV exposure.

From Tisa, the group went to Punta Princesa, San Nicolas and Pasil where they had lunch.

Estrada and the group went on to Cordova town in Mactan Island for the Dinagat Festival.

Today, Estrada is expected to visit the University of Cebu and meet with UC president Augusto Go, then proceed to Toledo City for a mini-rally.

The group will visit other municipalities in the 3rd district before going back to Cebu City at 5:30 p.m. (Inquirer)

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