San Juan City mayor Zamora seeks reelection in 2022

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2021 01:13 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2021 10:07 PM

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News
Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora is seeking a fresh term by filing Tuesday his certificate of candidacy for the 2022 elections.

Zamora said public health will remain his top priority in light of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, should he win. He cites the COVID-19 vaccination in San Juan, which is the first city in the country to inoculate 70 percent of its population to achieve herd immunity against the disease, as among his accomplishments.

“Gusto kong pamunuan ulit ang San Juan upang tuluyan nating maitawid ang ating lungsod sa laban na ito sa COVID-19. Alam naman natin na ang COVID ay hindi mawawala basta-basta. Kaya public health pa rin talaga laban sa COVID-19 ang ating plataporma,” he said. 

In 2019, Zamora’s victory against Janella Estrada ended the Estrada clan’s 26-year uninterrupted hold on San Juan’s top post. 

The two families were long-time political allies until 2013, when the Estradas fielded Jannah Ejercito, a niece of former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, to run for the congressional seat against Ronaldo Zamora.

The Estradas have yet to announce plans for the local elections next year.

“Kung sinuman ang lalaban sa kanilang pamilya, handang-handa po ako. Ako naman po ay nagtrabaho mula noong unang araw na tayo ay naupo hanggang sa kasalukuyan. Kaya tiwala po ako na ang ating paglilingkod ay naramdaman ng ating mamamayan,” Zamora said.

His sister, Atty. Bel Zamora, will run for a congressional seat.

On criticisms that the Zamoras could be a new political dynasty, Mayor Zamora has this to say: “Pagdating ng araw ng halalan, ang mga mamamayan din naman ang pipili kung sa tingin nila kami ay makakapaglingkod nang maayos dito sa San Juan. Sila naman ang magdedesisyon."

"Hinahain namin ang aming mga sarili upang husgahan ng ating mamamayan. Kung sa tingin nila ito ay makakabuti sa aming lungsod, umaasa po akong sila ay susuporta sa amin. Kung sa tingin nila ito ay makakasama, siguro hindi ho kami mananalo sa halalang ito,” he added.

Zamora’s running mate, Vice Mayor Warren Villa, also filed his COC for the same post, along with aspirants for San Juan City council seats.

JAMES YAP

These include PBA star James Yap, who said he wants his life story to influence the youth and inspire them to get into sports.

Should he win, Yap said he plans to focus on sports programs for the youth.

“Gusto kong makapagbigay ng inspirasyon sa mga bata, especially sa mga gustong maging athlete. Dahil ‘yung karanasan ko bilang isang atleta, sa tagal ko sa PBA, baka makapag-share ako sa kanila. Kasi kailangan din talaga ng guidance. Sa experience ko kasi, kung walang nag-guide sa akin, baka hindi ko marating kung nasaan ako ngayon,” he said.

“Wala naman talagang experience. Pero yung experience ko bilang isang public figure, ‘yung may lalapit sa'yo na humihingi ng tulong, tinutulungan din naman natin kahit wala tayo dito ngayon, ito na ‘yung chance ko na makatulong nang tapat. Kumbaga, naka-focus ka rin talaga sa pagtulong,” he added.

But Yap isn’t retiring from basketball just yet. 

“Nagpaalam ako sa PBA kung pwede ako tumakbo, sa managament ng Rain or Shine. Sinabi naman nila na pwede. Ano raw plano ko, kung magre-retire na ba ako? Ang sabi ko naman, pwede bang kung papalarin ako, habang councilor ako sa San Juan, pwede ba akong maglaro sa PBA? Ang sabi naman nila, pwede raw. Siguro, one more year sa PBA,” he shared.

OTHER CANDIDATES FOR COUNCILOR

Former PBA players Don Allado and Paul Artadi, actor and former basketball player Ervic Vijandre, and Macky Mathay are also part of Zamora’s line up for city councilors.

“Wala naman po akong nakikitang masama sa basketball player. Ako po ay naging basketball player din noong ako ay nasa kolehiyo at pati sa PBL. Hindi importante kung basketball player o hindi. Ang importante, mayroon bang kakayanan at puso para maglingkod sa ating mamamayan,” Zamora said.

“Ako po, bilang basketball player, malaking bagay po ang aking natutunan pagdating po sa disiplina, sa katawan, sa pag-iiisip. At ito ay malaking bagay na nadadala ko ngayon bilang mayor. Tiwala po ako na ang ating mga kandidatong basketball player ay may dalang disiplina at pagmamahal at marami ho silang pwedeng itulong sa atin sa darating na taon,” he added. 

“Ang maganda rito, ‘yung youthfulness, ‘yung energy ng mga mas batang kandidato. Katulad ko, hindi ako takot sumabak sa araw-araw na trabaho, bagama't may COVID-19. Tayo po ay patuloy na naglilingkod, patuloy na nagtatrabaho. Hindi po tayo natatakot sa COVID, ngunit maingat po tayo."

Other city council aspirants in Zamora’s ticket are Angelo Agcaoili, Ryan Dee, Raissa Laurel, Totoy Bernardo, Bea de Guzman, Kit Peralta, and Franco Yam.

Before the COC filing, Zamora and his ticket attended a thanksgiving mass at Pinaglabanan Church, where several supporters wearing red shirts were waiting. But physical distancing was observed inside the church.

At the local COMELEC office, light rains did not stop supporters from staging a festive welcome for Zamora’s team. There was a percussion band and supporters carrying posters, cheering. 

The Philippine National Police had previously appealed to avoid fiesta-like COC filing, which could be a potential COVID super spreader.

Zamora had also earlier advised supporters to just watch the COC filing via Facebook live, but he said some still showed up. 

“Nag-announce po tayo sa FB kahapon na wala na sanang pupunta rito at manood na lang sa Facebook live. Ngunit siguro, talagang may mga taong hindi mo mapigilan kung pupunta dito. But we made sure dito sa misa natin, 30% lang ng simbahan ang ma-occupy. I spoke with our chief of police two days ago and everyone involved sa peace and order to ensure health and safety protocols. Biglang bumuhos ang ulan, kaya siguro yung iba na walang masilungan ay medyo nagkawatak-watak,” Zamora explained.

Policemen were on site to enforce physical distancing and minimum health protocols like wearing face mask. 

“The politicians who allow mass gatherings of their supporters, are the ones to blame if their pre-COC filing rallies turn out to be superspreaders,” COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez said. 

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—With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News