PAMPANGA, Philippines – Will the 2019 campaign season end the feud of JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada?
The two brothers known for their sibling rivalry raised each other's hands onstage during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign launch on Tuesday, February 12.
The show of camaraderie came with a declaration from the host that "rumors that they are fighting are not true."
Later on, the two brothers shook hands with smiles on their faces, belying their supposed feud which worsened when their father, Manila mayor and former president Joseph Estrada decided to support Jinggoy's Senate comeback even JV had already expressed his intention to seek reelection.
Estrada's decision prompted Ejercito, who did not agree with fielding two members of the family in the same race, to leave the party founded by his father and join the Nacionalist People's Coalition.
HNP chairperson and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte often pokes fun at the brothers' feud saying during events that the two are both part of her slate but never attend HNP events together.
The hand-raising of the two brothers made for good optics with the crowd cheering the two candidates.
The estranged brothers are sons of the former president with different women. The elder Jinggoy is the son of former senator Loi Ejercito Estrada, while JV's mother is actress-turned-San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez. The brothers' rivalry worsened because of politics in San Juan City, where both had served as mayors.
The animosity grew when Ejercito signed a Senate committee report against former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and his half-brother over the alleged misuse of pork barrel in 2014.
The HNP campaign launch is ongoing in San Fernando, Pampanga as of posting. Pampanga, with 1.9 million voters, is a vote-rich province. In 2016, Rodrigo Duterte won here overwhelmingly even if the powerful Pineda clan pledged to support the Liberal Party.
The Pinedas are hosting the HNP launch. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.