Who will Grace Poe support in San Juan?

MANILA, Philippines – Who will Grace Poe support in the city where she grew up, San Juan?

This may be a difficult question for the presidential polls front runner. After all, the two political families in the city are all closely connected to her.

Former president Joseph Estrada is the best friend of her father, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ). Estrada was present at the 76th birthday celebration for FPJ last August 20 and even teased the public about Poe's presidential bid.

On the other hand, Poe is related to the Zamora family, who is now battling it out with the Estradas in the local scene. 

The mothers-in-law of Poe and Vice Mayor Francis Zamora are sisters. This makes Poe's husband Neil Llamanzares and the young Zamora's wife first cousins.

Zamoras for Grace Poe

Francis and his father San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora have openly declared their support for Poe. They were present at the neophyte senator’s declaration at the Bahay ng Alumni in the University of the Philippines Diliman on September 16. 

The whole slate of Zamora’s Team San Juan during their rally on Tuesday, October 6, wore white, the same campaign color of Poe.

In a speech the same day, the elder Zamora used the slogan of father and daughter Poe and told the audience: "With Team San Juan, there is a new morning” or Bagong Umaga.

In 2004, however, Congressman Zamora did not support FPJ, as he was the campaign manager of then presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson. 

“But why did they support Lacson in 2004 against FPJ? Isn’t that betrayal as well?” Senator JV Ejercito told Rappler in a text message.

Estrada mum on 2016

While Estrada is a known friend of FPJ, he has so far been silent on his preferred presidential candidate for 2016. He is closely associated with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was his running mate in the 2010 presidential elections.

Estrada, who is also Poe’s godfather, earlier said he is not yet satisfied with Grace Poe’s 20-point agenda. He said he would endorse someone who would prioritize “peace and order.” 

But Estrada was among those quick to defend Grace Poe from detractors, saying he knew her since she was a kid. He maintained Poe was neither a drunkard nor a drug addict. 

"That's black propaganda. I've seen Grace, I knew her since [she was] small. Hindi ganun 'yon. (She’s not like that.) Social drinking, what's wrong with that?" Estrada earlier said.

Estrada’s son, Senator JV Ejercito, reiterated the family would support Poe in 2016, even as the family patriarch continues to send mixed signals.

“We [were] one of the first to declare our support for Grace Poe when she [decided] to run,” Ejercito told Rappler in a text message.

While the 2016 decision of the Estrada family may all be unclear as of now, one thing cannot be denied – the local politics in San Juan will have an effect on national politics, especially on the candidacy of Poe. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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