Erap wages war vs. illegal gambling

Not on my turf.

The former Philippine leader whose presidency was cut short by allegations of corruption, including one that involved money from an illegal numbers game, has launched an all-out war against illegal gambling.

In a symbolic gesture Monday, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, now mayor of Manila, boarded a backhoe and personally destroyed several gambling paraphernalia to show Manila residents how serious he is on his new crusade.

“The law is the law no matter how harsh, we have to follow that,” Estrada said in a report on GMA News TV’s “Balitanghali.”

Estrada hinted that his campaign will also cover the illegal numbers game jueteng.

“(I am against) all forms of illegal gambling. (There is) no exception to the rule, we will go after them,” he added, in a tone reminiscent of his predecessor Alfredo Lim’s catchphrase that “the law applies to all, otherwise none at all.”

Estrada said money collected from illegal gambling machines will be donated to Hospicio de San Jose, a Manila orphanage.

Estrada, elected president in 1998, was impeached in 2000 after he was accused of, among others, receiving P545 million in jueteng proceeds. A mass uprising in 2001 led to his ouster.

In September 2007, Estrada was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan, but was pardoned by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in October of the same year.

A veteran politicican and a former movie actor, Estrada had earlier pushed for the legalization of jueteng.

Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK, GMA News