MANILA, Philippines – Sen Jinggoy Estrada will finally join the opposition’s campaign sorties but might not end up raising his half-brother’s hand.
The Senate President Pro-Tempore said that he accepted the invitation of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to campaign for its senatorial slate.
During the Kapihan sa Senado press forum on Thursday, April 4, Jinggoy said he agreed to substitute for UNA’s so-called 3 kings – Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile – in the campaign.
Jinggoy said he will try to make time for the UNA events while campaigning for his father, former President Estrada, who is running for Manila mayor, and his daughter, Janella Ejercito, a candidate for councilor in San Juan.
“Once I can squeeze it in my schedule, I will go and campaign for the UNA candidates. Since the Vice President is out of town, my father is busy campaigning in Manila, and the Senate President is having problems with his eyesight, Congressman Toby [Tiangco] asked me if I can substitute for the 3 kings. Yes, of course.”
Jinggoy though reiterated that he and his half-brother, UNA senatorial bet San Juan Rep JV Ejercito, have not yet reconciled.
Asked if he will raise his brother’s hand on the campaign stage, Jinggoy said, “Sa akin, walang problema (To me, no problem), but I can’t force myself to endorse a candidate who does not need my endorsement.”
Jinggoy’s statement contradicts pronouncements of his father and brother. The former President and congressman JV said in past days that there is no more disagreement between the two brothers, and they will eventually be together in the campaign.
Yet Jinggoy was still smarting from JV’s decision to turn down his offer to produce ads for his brother’s campaign.
“Actually, I talked to my dad [about the ads] and my dad was very excited that I will endorse him, but Cong JV has reasons. I heard his media plan is completed so I no longer insisted on the ads,” Jinggoy said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The Estrada brothers have a long history of disagreements but their father repeatedly asks them to mend ties.
Jinggoy is Estrada’s son with his wife, former senator and doctor Luisa “Loi” Estrada, while JV is the former President's son with now San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
Despite the rift, Jinggoy said he was worried about the drop in his brother’s score in a recent Pulse Asia survey.
“At the end of the day, kapatid ko pa rin iyan. Siguro kailangan mag-double time sa pangangampanya.” (He is still my brother. Maybe he has to double time in campaigning.)
If JV wins, he will be together with Jinggoy in the Senate for 3 years -- the same way that Jinggoy was together with his mother Loi in the first 3 years of his first term, from 2004-2007.
Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig
‘Don’t drag my daughter in feud’
Jinggoy also took exception to a report that JV snubbed Janella during the UNA proclamation rally in San Juan last Tuesday, April 2.
“Siyempre bilang isang ama, masakit sa akin pero siguro may problema siya nung araw na ‘yun, ‘di niya nakausap ang bata. Sana ‘wag na niya idamay ang anak ko kung anuman ang namamagitan sa amin. ‘Di na lang kumikibo iyon pero she’s hurting. I already talked to my daughter. [I told her], ‘That’s politics. Let’s bear with it.’”
(Of course as a father, it hurts but maybe he had a problem that day so he did not talk to the child. I hope he does not drag my daughter in whatever is going on between us. She does not talk but she’s hurting.)
Yet Ejercito denied snubbing Janella, saying he even hugged his niece during the rally.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Ejercito said, "Sana naman, si Sen Jinggoy, bago maniwala sa kathang-isip ng political operators sa media, ay magtanong din muna, kung hindi niya gusto na direkta sa akin, ay sa mga taong andoon mismo sa proclamation tulad ng aming ama na si President Erap.” (I hope Sen Jinggoy, before believing in fiction peddled by political operators in media, asks first. If he does not want me to ask me directly, he can ask the people there in the proclamation like our father, President Erap.)
“Honestly, I am getting tired of this so-called Jinggoy-JV rivalry. I believe there is no fued between us and I hope people understand why we are not close.”
Jinggoy curtly explained his absence in the event. “I don’t know what happened, because I was not invited.”
The senator said unlike his father and other members of the Estrada clan, he is not supporting the candidacy of former Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora for San Juan representative.
Kris vs Jinggoy for VP?
Estrada, who has hinted that he might seek the vice presidency in 2016, also commented on reports that his friend, actress Kris Aquino, will be gunning for the same post.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz spoke about the TV host’s possible candidacy but Malacañang has dismissed it as a rumor.
“Those are rumors. If ever my kumare decides to join politics, she is most welcome. She has the charisma of her father. She is intelligent, and has an appeal with the people,” Estrada said.
The senator also spoke about another possible rival for the vice presidency: Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.
“If he is running for higher office, so be it. He’s qualified. He’s very articulate. All those aspiring are excellent.”
Jinggoy downplayed talk of being Binay’s running mate in 2016. “I am not yet aspiring for anything. We have 3 years [left in the Senate]. It’s too early.” – Rappler.com