MANILA - Former Sen. JV Ejercito on Friday said voters may see a repeat of the 2019 campaign where he and his brother former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada both vied for a Senate post as he is already "80 percent" sure of running for senator in the 2022 national elections.
Jinggoy and JV both failed to cinch a Senate seat in the 2019 midterm polls, with analysts saying that several voters were either confused about the 2 Ejercito-Estradas in the ballot or were turned off with the idea of having an Estrada dynasty in the legislative chamber.
"My brother has said he also intends to run so it will be 2019 all over again. It will be difficult," Ejercito told ANC's Headstart.
"I'm more prudent but I am still fueled by my passion," he said.
The younger son of former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada noted that during his 6-year service in the Senate, he sponsored the Universal Health Care Law and the establishment of the Department of Housing.
"I think I have a decent performance and I would like to continue my landmark laws that I passed, which are now on its implementation phase," he said.
"My track record was unblemished. Walang eskandalo (No scandals)," he said.
Ejercito did not mention particular cases, but his brother Jinggoy was embroiled in the pork barrel scam during the Aquino administration.
Jinggoy, along with Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, were accused of pocketing public funds funneled through projects of ghost non-government agencies.
RIFT WITHIN EJERCITO-ESTRADA 'TOO DEEP'
JV said he is giving himself until October to finalize his decision to make a Senate comeback, noting that he may "just be wasting time money and effort by running together" with Jinggoy.
In 2019, JV landed on the 13th place, about 150,000 votes behind Sen. Nancy Binay who secured the last Senate spot. Jinggoy placed 15th on the senatorial elections.
"It's almost impossible for 2 members of the family to win in any election, in any position," JV said.
Despite their loss in 2019, the former senator said it was unlikely that Jinggoy would back out from his plans of vying for a Senate seat next year.
Before the 2019 elections, then-incumbent senator JV Ejercito appealed to Jinggoy not to run for the Senate so that he could have a higher chance of being reelected for a second consecutive term in the Senate.
"I was hoping that they would just let me continue so I could finish my work. Just one term would have been enough," he said.
The rift "has gotten so deep already" after JV's mother - former San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez - was accused of not campaigning for Jinggoy's daughter Janella, who ran for mayor in 2019.
"They accused her of not really supporting Janella, which was really impossible," JV said, noting that it was his mother who tapped his niece to be San Juan City vice mayor in 2016.
"She wanted to unify the family by doing the first move by getting Janella," he said.
JV said his mother was unable to campaign for Janella in 2019 because she was helping out with his senatorial campaign.
"My mom said, 'I have to campaign for my son. I hope you understand,'" he said.
The Estradas' reign in San Juan ended in 2019 after Francis Zamora, who hails from another political dynasty, defeated Jinggoy's daughter for the mayoralty post.
"After the elections, it was not only Francis Zamora who was hitting my mother who was then 77-years old," JV said.
"It's very hard to trust [them] because my mother already showed her sincerity," he said.
ERAP 'TOO WEAK' TO SETTLE FAMILY SQUABBLE
Former President Estrada, the clan's 84-year old patriarch who recently survived COVID-19, is "too weak" to settle political squabbles within the clan, JV said.
"He is not the same anymore na strong personality, everybody would follow," he said.
"That is the problem: Who among us would lead if we decide to talk?" he said.
Three months before the filing of candidacies, JV said he is "just hoping for a miracle."
"There should only be one Estrada [in the ballot]," he said.
"Although I am part of a political dynasty, I believe that nobody should be in monopoly be it economic or political," he said.
"We should give chance to others."