MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter Sara Duterte led the sortie of Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s senatorial candidates in San Juan City, where she endorsed the mayoral bid of Janella Ejercito on Wednesday, February 27.
Days before that, however, on February 23, President Rodrigo Duterte raised the hand of Ejercito’s rival, Francis Zamora, during a PDP-Laban sortie in Biñan, Laguna.
So who really is the Duterte administration’s bet?
“Labis akong nagpapasalamat sa mahal nating Pangulo dahil ang inyong lingkod po ay inendorso bilang official candidate sa pagka-mayor ng San Juan City. Ako ay inendorso niya noong Sabado. At alam naman natin na mula noong 2016 hanggang ngayon ay maraming mamamayang Pilipino ang sumusuporta pa rin sa kanya. Definitely napakalaking tulong sa aking kandidatura ang kanyang suporta,” Zamora said.
(I’m immensely grateful to our beloved President because he endorsed me as official candidate for mayor of San Juan City. He endorsed me this Saturday. And we all know that since 2016 until now, a lot of Filipinos still support him. His endorsement is definitely a big help to my candidacy.)
“Ang endorsement niya ay sobrang laking morale booster para sa akin, at para sa aking supporters,” he added. (His endorsement is a big morale booster for me and my supporters.)
Zamora, a former vice mayor of San Juan, had tried to oust Mayor Guia Gomez through recall petition, but the Commission on Elections said it had lost time to verify it and schedule a special election. This prompted Zamora to file his candidacy for mayor instead in a regular election.
Gomez’s son, Senator JV Ejercito, is Janella’s uncle, a half-brother of her father.
Meanwhile, Ejercito was endorsed by Sara Duterte.
“Ang ginawa naman po natin dito sa San Juan at ‘pinakita po natin na kaya nating sugpuin ang ipinagbabawal na gamot. Actually, ‘pinakita din natin kay Mayor Sara ‘yung mga accomplishment report natin dito at talagang natuwa naman siya. Siguro baka kapag ipakita sa ating Pangulo baka sakaling mag iba ng-isip [sa kanyang ineendorso],” Estrada said when sought for comment on the President’s endorsement of her rival.
(What we did in San Juan was to show that we could get rid of illegal drugs. Actually, we also showed to Mayor Sara our accomplishment report here, and she was really pleased. Perhaps if she shows that to our President, he might change his might about who to endorse.)
“Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Mayor Inday Sara kasi inendorso niya po tayo at ang buong line up po ng One San Juan. At dun naman sa in-endorse ng ating Pangulo ay ako naman, I still support the President. Actually pareho kami ng advocacy nung tumatakbo po akong vice mayor at ang advocacy ko ay labanan ang ilegal na droga,” she added.
(We’re thankful to Mayor Inday Sara for endorsing me and the entire lineup of One San Juan. As for the President endorsing somebody else, I still support the President. Actually, we have the same advocacy when I was running for vice mayor; my advocacy was to fight illegal drugs.)
Janella’s father, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, wanted to look at Duterte’s endorsement of Zamora differently. He said President Duterte only endorsed Zamora because they belong to the same political party, and not because he’s vouching for Zamora personally.
“Inendorso lang naman ni Pangulong Duterte siya (Zamora) bilang kapartido, pero hindi siguro alam ng Pangulo ang pagkatao niya,” he said. (President Duterte probably just endorsed him because they’re party mates, but he probably doesn’t know what kind of person [Zamora] is.)
Jinggoy Estrada should know this works. President Duterte earlier endorsed his bid to return to the Senate. But when the President announced the final list of his personal senatorial bets, it diodn’t include Jinggoy.
Duterte said his endorsement of Jinggoy was good only for a day, and that he only endorsed him out of courtesy because he was at the same event.
In Isabela province last week, Sara and her Hugpong candidates appeared at opposing parties’ rallies. The President’s daughter said she and her slate were doing that because they need to “make friends with a lot of people.”
Janella Ejercito and Francis Zamora are tied for voters’ preference. A survey conducted by political consultancy firm Publicus Asia in November 2018, to determine voting preferences for mayor and vice mayor in each of Metro Manila’s local government units, showed Janella getting 44% and Zamora 43%. – Rappler.com