MANILA - Brothers Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito failed to share the stage when the Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign caravan for senators traveled to their home turf of San Juan City on Wednesday.
Ejercito took to the stage and explained that he will not be joining the program because he has to be in Valenzuela City for the groundbreaking of the Mega Manila Subway.
Estrada arrived later, after Ejercito left. While waiting for Jinggoy’s arrival, his daughter Janella campaigned for both her father and uncle when she addressed the crowd gathered at the San Juan City Hall.
Estrada and Ejercito have not hidden a rift in their relationship as half-siblings. Estrada is former President Joseph Estrada’s son by legal wife Loi Ejercito, while JV is Estrada’s son by San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
In his speech, Estrada appealed to voters to make JV #1 and him #2 in the senatorial race as he appealed to voters to support the HNP slate. Estrada also recognized the improvement of San Juan under the watch of JV and Guia Gomez as mayor.
"Well it's a probability naman. Probably dahil nagsilbi si Senator JV for 9 years as mayor and I think 6 years as congressman. Ako naman, 9 years as mayor and 3 years as vice mayor," Estrada said in an ambush interview.
In her endorsement, HNP chair and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio jokingly referred to JV as Jinggoy’s enemy, before walking back the joke as she acknowledged the presence of Mayor Guia Gomez.
"Nagkukunyari lang silang di sila magkasundo pero alam niyo, sa lahat ng pamilya kahit saan, blood is always thicker than water. Kahit pa kalahati lang yan," she said in an ambush interview.
Duterte-Carpio is not worried that the 2 brothers running for the same position in the election will split the vote.
"Madami naman ang mga nag-iisip at madami ngayon ang tumitingin sa track record, kung anong nagawa ng isang kandidato. Saka iba yung apelyido nila, 'yung isa Ejercito, 'yung isa Estrada at both silang 2 may nagawa sa Senado.”
Estrada is likewise not worried.
“I don't see any problem diyan. We both want to serve and maluwag naman...Sabi ko nga kung ako lang masusunod eh kaming 2 mananalo," he said.
Duterte-Carpio has endorsed the candidacies of the brothers but her father only endorsed JV’s candidacy. Jinggoy is not worried.
“I respect his decision naman. Tinaas niya ang kamay ko doon sa Legazpi tapos biglang nagkaroon ng problema. Nirerespeto ko naman. I will still remain as an ally of this administration. I will be very, very supportive of the legislative agenda of the president," he said.
The candidacy of both Estradas is one manifestation of the political differences of President and Mayor Duterte-Carpio. The chief executive is head of the PDP, a national party, while his daughter chairs HNP, a regional party based in Region 11 which has shot to national prominence because of the Mayor.
HNP and PDP have different slates though the slates have common candidates. Duterte-Carpio has launched a campaign caravan that allows her to endorse the HNP slate in key areas around the country.
In San Juan, the President has endorsed Estrada-Ejercito’s former allies, the Zamoras, since they are PDP members. Mayor Duterte has endorsed the mayoralty bid of Janella Estrada, Jinggoy’s daughter. Duterte-Carpio does not see any problem there.
”Si PRD naman, he is the highest public official in the land. He is the President. He is allowed his personal choices sa candidates. Ang sa amin naman sa HNP, tinitingnan namin kung sino 'yung receptive na tumanggap ng senators na mangampaniya sa lugar nila. The president is a different entity from me, from HNP. Walang away, magkaiba lang yung choices," he said.
Jinggoy likewise is not worried that President Duterte has endorsed the Zamoras, noting that they have Duterte-Carpio’s backing.
Other HNP senatorial bets present for the San Juan City program were Imee Marcos, Bato dela Rosa, Dong Mangundadatu, Bong Revilla and Francis Tolentino. Bong Go was represented by Bayani Agbayani while Sonny Angara was represented by wife Tootsie.
Jiggy Manicad, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar sent video messages to the event.