By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
In its bid to disqualify newly-proclaimed Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for alleged massive vote buying, the camp of his closest opponent, former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim filed additional evidence with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Estrada retained his position as mayor after beating Lim with a slim margin of 2,865 votes.
Lawyer Renato dela Cruz said the pieces of evidence consisting of affidavits would prove their earlier allegation that city government programs were used to buy votes for the May 9 polls.
Dela Cruz said one of these programs was hiring 1,000 employees for the city’s social welfare department.
According to their witnesses Victorino Andres and Jaime Ortega, employees received PHP 5,000 a month from January to June 30 “for doing nothing.”
Lim’s camp also deplored the alleged passing of ordinance allowing the city government to give away “goodies” to senior citizens.
Dela Cruz also claimed that the Estrada administration gave away computer tablets to public school teachers. Both happened before the elections in violation of the election code, Dela Cruz said.
To support their allegations, Dela Cruz said they filed an extreme urgent motion to suspend the effect of Estrada’s proclamation last May 27.
“While in the guise of helping the Manila Department of Social Welfare, the act of respondent Estrada was in gross violation of the provision of section 261(a) of the Omnibus Election Code,” read a separate statement from Lim’s camp.
Dela Cruz said this motion was a “supplement” to the petition to disqualify and annul the proclamation, which they filed on May 18.
Dela Cruz said they were not able to include the affidavits of their witnesses in the May 18 filing.
When asked why it took them more than a week to file the supplemental motion, Dela Cruz said, “We learned who received the benefits only lately.”
Meanwhile, Estrada told Lim, who served as Manila mayor from 1992 to 1998 and from 2007 to 2013, to just retire from politics considering his age.