MANILA - The political showdown between San Juan's Ejercito-Estrada and Zamora families heated up anew on Sunday with a call for a public debate between their election candidates.
Incumbent Vice Mayor Francis Zamora pushed for the debate against the camp of his mayoral rival, re-electionist Guia Gomez, the mother of Sen. JV Ejercito.
Zamora, the son of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, said the debate will allow candidates to present their campaign platforms before the voters.
"Sana magkaroon kami ng public debate katulad ng presidential debate na naganap noong nakaraang linggo. Pero kung 'di sila pumapayag na magkaroon ng ganoong debate o kahit forum man lang kung saan puwede tayong tanungin nang harap-harapan ng ating mga kababayan kung ano ang aming balak -- e paano namin ito mailalahad sa kanila?" Zamora said.
The Zamoras and Estradas were long-time political allies and friends until the Estrada patriarch, Manila Mayor and former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, ditched the Zamoras in favor of his sons JV and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
The running mate of Gomez is Jinggoy's daughter, Janella. Another Estrada relative, Jana Ejercito, will contest the congressional seat being held by the older Zamora.
But despite their bitter rivalry, Rep. Zamora is not closing the door on a reconciliation with the Estradas.
He said this may be possible after the May 9 elections.
"Siguro pagtapos ng eleksyon, pwedeng mangyari iyan. Wala namang problema. We have always been friends. But let's finish with the elections. This is a big issue. Kailangang malama ng tao ang pasya nila, iyun ang mahalaga ngayon," Rep. Zamora said.
The Zamoras earlier promised true reform for the people of San Juan, vowing to end the Estradas' 46-year reign which began when Joseph Estrada first won the mayoral race in 1969. -- Report from Dennis Datu, DZMM
Philippine politics: In the name of the family