2022 Philippine Elections

Estrada slayer Francis Zamora seeks second term as San Juan mayor

Dwight de Leon
Estrada slayer Francis Zamora seeks second term as San Juan mayor

FRANCIS ZAMORA. San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora during the distribution of food assistance in September 2021.

Francis Zamora's Facebook

It remains to be seen whether the Estrada clan would field a candidate in the 2022 polls to challenge Zamora's reelection bid

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, who pried the Estrada clan’s half-century iron grip of Metro Manila’s smallest city, is hoping to maintain a winning streak in the 2022 polls.

Zamora filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) before the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in the city on Tuesday, October 5.

He will seek reelection under the banner of the ruling party PDP-Laban, with incumbent Vice Mayor Warren Villa as his running mate.

It was an uphill battle for Zamora before he took control of city hall in 2019, as he had to defeat allies-turned enemies. Up until 2019, the Estrada clan dominated San Juan politics for 50 years.

Zamora was a two-term vice mayor of San Juan beginning 2010, before he suffered a razor-thin defeat to then-reelectionist mayor Guia Gomez in 2016. Gomez was a former partner of ex-president Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada.

In 2019, Zamora pulled off a landslide victory over Janella Estrada, granddaughter of ‘Erap’. That loss snapped the Estrada clan’s dynastic rule in the city.

Under Zamora’s first term in office, San Juan hit an important milestone after it became the first city in the Philippines to to surpass its COVID-19 vaccination target.

As of mid-September, Zamora’s city hall had vaccinated 135,015 people, or 106% of San Juan’s total population of 126,347.

Because of its achievement, San Juan was among the first local government units in Metro Manila to open its vaccination drive to other residents of the capital region.

Zamora, however, also attracted criticism at times. In June 2020, Zamora and his party broke Baguio City’s strict coronavirus-driven border control measures as he visited the Baguio Country Club on a six-vehicle convoy.

Zamora apologized but pinned the blame on escorting cops whom he claimed were the ones who talked to border officers when they entered the Philippines’ so-called summer capital.

His association with the Marcoses also raised eyebrows, especially when he announced that the ancestral home of the Marcoses in San Juan would be part of the city’s historical trail.

The Estrada camp has yet to unveil whether they would challenge Zamora’s reelection bid in 2022. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.