Mayoral bet Francis Zamora: Time to end ‘Estrada option’ in San Juan

Mara Cepeda
Mayoral bet Francis Zamora: Time to end ‘Estrada option’ in San Juan
The son of longtime congressman Ronaldo Zamora is challenging re-electionist Mayor Guia Gomez to end the decades-long Estrada rule in the city

MANILA, Philippines – Vice Mayor Francis Zamora said on on Wednesday, October 14, he is challenging re-electionist Mayor Guia Gomez in San Juan, Metro Manila, to give its residents an option other than somebody from the Estrada family.

“We’re doing this because we feel that the people of San Juan deserve a choice, something that they didn’t have for a long time,” he said Zamora during a “pandesal forum” at the Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City .

On Tuesday, Zamora filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor with his running mate, Councilor Totoy Bernardo. (READ: Ex-Estrada ally declares bid to ‘end dynasty’ in San Juan)

Zamora will be running against Mayor Guia Gomez, who has a child with former President Joseph Estrada, who started the Ejercito-Estrada dynasty in the city when he became mayor in 1969.

Their son, JV Ejercito, became mayor as well. (WATCH: Zamoras, Estradas clash for control of San Juan)

The Estrada and Zamora clans used to be allies until Zamora and his father, re-electionist San Juan Representative Ronado Zamora, felt the need to put an end to the dynastic rule in San Juan.

“Actually, there will be a big fight in our city. This is something new for all of us because our people have been used to one option, and that is the Estrada option,” said Zamora.

But he said those days are over now that he is running for mayor himself.

Hindi natin gagawing kingdom natin ang San Juan. San Juan is for each and every San Juaneño,” he said. (We’re not going to make San Juan our kingdom. San Juan is for each and every San Juaneño.)

Not a dynasty?

During the forum, Zamora said the original plan between the Zamora and Estrada camps was for him to run for another term as vice mayor in 2016.

However, he said that when detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada called for a meeting of San Juan local officials in Camp Crame to ask them to support the vice mayoral bid of his daughter, Councilor Janella Marie “Jel” Ejercito, he started to change his mind.

Naging malinaw ‘yung plano na ‘di nila bibitawan ang San Juan.” (It became clear that they did not want to let go of San Juan.)

He reiterated that his mayoral seat bid and his father’s candidacy for Congress do not necessarily translate into another dynasty.

“‘Di namin ‘pinasa ang posisyon namin sa isat isa,” Zamora said in a previous interview. (We did not pass out position to each other.) 

‘Hands-on’ leadership

Asked what his edge is over Gomez, Zamora said he will offer San Juan “a new kind of governance.”

“We will be offering transparency. We will be offering accountability. We will be offering people’s participation. Lahat kailangan sa decision-making, involved sila (They should be involved in the decision-making process).”

According to Zamora, he had already offered to engage in a political debate with Gomez so they may “answer questions directly from our constituents.”

“I don’t engage in dirty politics. I was raised well by my parents. I want to engage with them in a very positive forum,” he said. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.