MANILA, Philippines – Senator Jinggoy Estrada meant to be sarcastic with a government official who was claiming to be untained by pork barrel kickbacks, but his remarks on Wednesday, March 12, was interpreted by some as a swipe at his half-brother, Senator JV Ejercito.
Ejercito took it lightly, though, and so did other senators during the otherwise tense session where Estrada was delivering a privilege speech.
Estrada criticized potential state witness Dennis Cunanan, director general of the Technology Resource Center, for claiming that his P12-million house in White Plains, Quezon City, was bought by his brother Darius and is being rented out to him at a concessional rate.
Estrada sought to disprove the claim by saying Darius Cunanan had no money to afford the house. He insinuated that the money actually belonged to Dennis, raising questions about his wealth.
“Ang bait naman ng kapatid niya. Bumili ng bahay para lang tumira ay si Dennis samantalang ang kapatid at pamilya niya, sa Pampanga. Aba napakasuwerte ni Dennis. Sana may kapatid din ako kasingbait ng kapatid ni Dennis!”
(His brother is so kind. He bought a house just so that Dennis can live there while the brother and his family are in Pampanga. How lucky of Dennis. I hope I have a brother as kind as Dennis’ brother!)
The quip caused Estrada to pause as even Senate President Franklin Drilon laughed at the remark, breaking the tense atmosphere during the speech. Even reporters covering the speech paused from note-taking and shared a laugh.
Ejercito took to Twitter to react.
@ayeemacaraig Aruy!— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) March 12, 2014
The younger son of former President now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada just took the comment lightly and even joked about it with netizens.
@Simply_Clinton Di lang niya alam mabait ako.— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) March 12, 2014
@RealJasper2014 Cool lang ako dito— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) March 12, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano joined the fray and joked. “I take exception to the statements of the gentleman. Meron po siyang kapatid na mabait.” (He has a kind brother.)
The sibling rivalry between Estrada and Ejercito is long known in Philippine politics. Jinggoy is the son of the former President with his wife, former Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada. JV is the son of actress-turned-San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
The rift is rooted in San Juan politics, where the two brothers became mayor. The rivalry worsened ahead of the 2013 polls when Ejercito reportedly turned down Estrada’s offer to help him in his campaign ads. Estrada also accused Ejercito of snubbing his daughter, Janella, in a campaign sortie in San Juan, a charge Ejercito denied.
Former President Joseph Estrada intervened and issued a “gag order” on the two and they have since tried to work together in the Senate minority bloc.
Commenting on the speech, Ejercito said, “’Di nga ako mabait, sobrang bait! Haha!” (It’s true I am not kind. I am super kind! Haha!) – Rappler.com