Jinggoy campaigns for Erap, not UNA

Sen Jinggoy Estrada says brother Rep JV Ejercito 'does not need my endorsement'

NO NEED. Asked if he will campaign for San Juan Rep JV Ejercito, Sen Jinggoy Estrada said his brother “does not need my endorsement.” Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig

MANILA, Philippines – He is campaigning “101%” for his father but will Sen Jinggoy Estrada also endorse his brother despite their reported feud?

The Senate President Pro-Tempore hit the campaign trail in the proclamation rally of his father, former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for Manila mayor.

Sen Estrada introduced his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile in the event on Sunday, March 31, at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

The younger Estrada said in an interview before the rally that he is giving his father his full “101% support” despite initial hesitations from the family last year.

Estrada said his mother doctor and former Sen Luisa “Loi” Estrada, who joined her husband on the campaign stage, is also backing the family patriarch.  

“My mother at the same time conducts medical missions in the whole of Manila. Public service has no boundaries. My father wants to help because Manila is in decay. What he did in San Juan, he will do in Manila,” Estrada said referring to his father’s 17-year tenure as mayor of San Juan.

The senator also became mayor of San Juan from 1992 to 2001. He was incarcerated with his father after EDSA 2 but the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder.

Asked how he will help his father, Estrada said, “I will be active in the campaign here in Manila. I hope the level of campaigning will be higher, no mudslinging. Maybe I’ll go house-to-house, depending on the assignment.”

Estrada has also lent his Senate staff to his father’s campaign.

Actor Tirso Cruz III also said on the campaign stage that former President Estrada’s jingle to the tune of the classic hit “Manila,” came from Sen Estrada, who rewrote the words to “Si Erap, si Erap.” Cruz sang the song with actress Lorna Tolentino.

FIRST LADY. Former First Lady and former Sen Loi Estrada graces the proclamation rally of her husband in Manila. Her son, Jinggoy, says she is fully supportive of Estrada’s mayoral bid. Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig

‘JV does not need my endorsement’

While he is campaigning for his father, Estrada was non-committal about exerting the same effort for the senatorial slate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Sen Estrada is president of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), a coalition partner of UNA, along with Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Despite his position in PMP, Estrada has yet to join a single UNA senatorial sortie, where his brother San Juan Rep JV Ejercito is a candidate.

Asked if he will campaign for the alliance, Estrada said, “If they need me.”

Pressed further about campaigning for his brother, the senator said, “He does not need my endorsement so I cannot do anything.”

Estrada’s remark comes after Ejercito turned down the senator’s offer to release ads for his campaign.

UNA campaign manager Navotas Rep Toby Tiangco said he heard of the plan, with Estrada showing him the storyboards for the ads.

Ejercito though explained in a media statement last month that he had to decline the offer because he has already allocated his TV and radio ad airtime minutes. He also said that he has to stick to the campaign plan and messaging prepared by his team.

“Humihingi ako ng paumanhin kay Kuya Jinggoy kung ang naka-abot sa kanya ay ‘ayoko ng endorsement niya.’ Hindi po totoo ito,” Ejercito said. (I apologize to Kuya Jinggoy if it reached him that ‘I don’t want his endorsement.’ It’s not true.)

Instead, Ejercito said his brother can campaign for him through other means like holding press conferences or asking local chief executives to support him.

This is not the first time the two clashed in public.

Last year, Estrada took exceptions to Ejercito’s statements about a supposed rivalry between them. Ejercito said he had no intention to hurt his brother, and was just misquoted.

Jinggoy is the son of Estrada with Dr Loi Estrada while JV is the son of former actress and San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.

Their father, who issued a gag order on the brothers’ spat last year, said he is confident the two will “eventually join each other” in the campaign.

‘ERAP TATTOO.’ Estrada’s daughter Jackie Ejercito-Lopez also attends the proclamation rally of her father in Manila, coming up with the idea for the stick-on “Erap tattoo.” Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig

Jinggoy ready to be VP?

Tiangco is also not taking sides on the issue, saying he is waiting for things to cool down between the two. The campaign manager is closer to Ejercito but told reporters he “sees things objectively.”

Asked about Estrada’s statement on UNA, Tiangco said, “Of course we need Jinggoy’s help, definitely.”

In UNA’s Manila proclamation rally, emcees introduced Sen Estrada as “ready to be vice president.”

Last year, Estrada hinted for the first time that he is interested in the post. Reports have it he might end up as the running mate of Binay in 2016. 

Yet on Sunday, Estrada just shrugged off the introduction, saying he was not the candidate and will leave a possible vice presidential bid to the future. – Rappler.com 

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