|San Juan Representative Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito. File Photo
MANILA, Philippines - San Juan Representative Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito was named after his father, former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a factor that would catapult him high in the surveys for the 2013 senatorial elections if he uses Joseph Ejercito
However, in an interview with ANC's Headstart, he said he will be using “JV Ejercito” for his campaign since he believes voters are mature enough to know the difference.
“But I don’t want confusion,” he added. “I don’t want voters to vote for my father. I want to make sure that people would know me.”
He said running anew for representative of the lone district of San Juan would have been less complicated, considering that he may again be unopposed. Still, he said the call for him to be in higher office is much stronger.
“Our voters now, they scrutinize more. With the entry of young voters, they just don’t vote for the name [anymore],” he said.
Based on the May 20 to 26 survey of Pulse Asia, Ejercito was ranked 6th to 9th.
JV was first to be fielded by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is an alliance of PDP-Laban and Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)
Asked for the best political advice that his father has given him, Ejercito said: “He’s always reminds me, in case you decide, decide for the greatest good of the greatest number.”
Following Erap’s footsteps
Ejercito is just one of the many children the former actor has. Nevertheless, JV defended his father even if he was never part of the “primary” family.
“He’s [Erap] a big star, he’s probably prone to temptation,” he said.
“It was difficult at first, but I had to have an open mind. My dad, although he had shortcomings as a father because he can’t spend all his time with us, he more than made up for it.”
He said Estrada, despite his many children, was never absent in major milestones of his life. “That’s why I've never felt insecurities,” he said.
He admitted to having a rivalry with his half-brother, incumbent Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in his early years in politics.
He said some of those working in the San Juan city government used to pounce on this rivalry. “They tell on me [to Jinggoy], kung minsan, may dagdag na.”
He said, however, that they’re both closer now. “We’re now better, a lot better than before. At least, we’re not fighting anymore.”
The next Pia-Alan
Ejercito said they both realized during Estrada’s incarceration that their father had frustrations, one of which was “making us friends.”
“Probably, we both realized later on, that we want our father to live longer, he’s suffered long enough,” he added.
If Ejercito will join Jinggoy in the Senate, they will become the second set of incumbent siblings in the upper house. Pia Cayetano and Alan Peter Cayetano are the first.
“We have our own minds, identities, it doesn’t mean we’ll be together [on issues],” he said. He noted it will be a “fun scenario” in case that happens.
Joining Koko Pimentel
He has a long way to go, however, before this scenario could happen. This includes brushing elbows with former allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was responsible for his father’s ouster from the presidency in 2001.
He admitted he was initially uncomfortable with the likes of former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, a member of the so-called “Spice Boys” in the House of Representatives who initiated the impeachment of Estrada.
He said he is also close to incumbent Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, whom he worked with for nine years against the Arroyo regime.
Pimentel has always believed that he was robbed of his rightful place in the Senate by the Arroyo regime, which he alleged to have had a hand in placing Zubiri as the twelfth senator in the 2007 elections.
Ejercito also admitted he was not around when Zubiri took his oath before his father's party, PMP. “I’m not comfortable, to be honest, we were on the other side of the fence.”
He said, however, that he later on accepted the public apology of Zubiri. “It’s a humble gesture. He’s a gentleman to do that in public.”
He said Pimentel and Zubiri can boost UNA since they both present Mindanao.
Ejercito hopes that his friend, Koko, will not leave the UNA despite the current impasse. He said he has tried to talk to him, even via Twitter. “I’d be happier if we campaign together.”