MANILA, Philippines – Saying he’s disgruntled, reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito is leaving the party of his father, former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, over a political feud with his half-brother, former senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Ejercito said he would be leaving his father’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and take his oath with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) this week.
NPC, however, is also considering to support Jinggoy for 2019, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, a senior party official and Jinggoy’s friend.
Politics as root cause: Ejercito said he and his father have not been on speaking terms “for a long time now,” following Jinggoy’s announcement early this year that he would also run for the Senate.
“Yes, differences in principle. I don’t agree with the position of allowing 2 siblings to run at the same time. It does not look good and it just isn’t right,” Ejercito told Rappler on Monday, October 8.
In an earlier interview with Radyo Singko, Ejercito admitted he feels bad that his father decided to also support Jinggoy’s planned Senate comeback. Citing his ratings dip, Ejercito lamented Jinggoy’s supposed edge for carrying the well-known family name of Estrada.
Ejercito also said he wished his father would support him this time, after supposedly failing to do so in 2013.
“Medyo may tampo, kung kailan ako reelectionsist, sana hindi na lang pinayagan [si Jinggoy], ‘di maganda. My chances of winning now ay talagang apektado, nahahati kami, nahahati boto, yung Estrada name wala sa akin,” Ejercito, who ran and won using the name JV Ejercito in 2013, said in an interview with Radyo Singko. (I feel bad because I’m a reelectionist, he should not have approved of Jinggoy’s Senate run. It does not look good. My chances of winning now are affected because the votes are not solid and the Estrada name is not with me.)
“Noong time na yun, hindi ako masyado natulungan. Nag-karoon kami tampuhan dahil sa kapatid ko nung time na yun, kaya di ako natulungan financially, even political machinery. Tapos ngayon mauulit na naman ang scenario…. Hindi lang tampo, masama talaga loob ko. Di na ko natulungan noong 2013, ganito pa sitwasyon. Ako I have tried to keep my name clean, wala akong issue.. wala akong corruption,” Ejercito said.
(In 2013, my father was not able to really help me. We had an issue because of my brother that’s why he was not able to help me financially and even political machinery. And now, the same scenario will happen… I don’t just feel bad, I feel disgruntled because he was not able to help me in 2013 and now this is the situations. I have tried to keep my name clean, without any issue, withou any corruption case)
In response, Jinggoy, in the same radio show, debunked his half-brother’s claim.
“I doubt it. Ang tatay ko pantay-pantay ang tingin sa mga anak nya, walang nakakalamang. Yung sinasabi ni Senator JV na hindi sya tinulungan in 2013, I was a first-hand witness to that, tinulungan sya ng tatay ko, imposibleng hindi,” the former senator said. (I doubt it. My father treats all his children the same, no one is his favorite. Senator JV said our father did not help him in 2013. I was a first-hand witness to that, our father helped him. It’s impossible that he did not help him.)
Jinggoy said there is nothing wrong with the two brothers running for the same post. After all, he said it is the Filipino voters who will ultimately decide.
Who gets to use Estrada? As for the use of the Estrada name, Jinggoy said it was legalized since the 1990s, when he first ran for San Juan vice mayor in 1988.
“I am my father’s son. Since I entered politics in 1988, na-legalize na po yung apelido ko. May court order po yan,” he said
In June, Ejercito ranked 6th to 13th in pre-election surveys, making him well within the so-called Magic 12. Jinggoy, meanwhile, ranked 5th to 12th in June.
In September, Ejercito’s ranking dropped to 11th to 17th, just on the edge of the winning circle. Estrada went up to 6th to 10th, making it into the Magic 12.
Jinggoy is out on bail after being in detention for 3 years over plunder and graft charges in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
The estranged brothers are sons of the former president with different women. The elder Jinggoy is the son of former senator Loi Ejercito Estrada, while JV’s mother is actress-turned-San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez. The brothers’ rivalry worsened because of politics in San Juan City, where both had served as mayors.
The animosity grew when Ejercito signed a Senate committee report against former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and his half-brother over the alleged misuse of pork barrel in 2014.
Ruling party PDP-Laban is eyeing Ejercito as one of its candidates.
Meanwhile, Ejercito and Estrada are both being endorsed for senator by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com