MANILA, Philippines – San Juan City remains Ejercito-Estrada country as members of the powerful clan are proclaimed winners after a very heated local race against a former ally, the Zamoras.
With 28,828 votes, incumbent mayor Guia Gomez successfully defended her post from her vice mayor, Francis Zamora of the Nacionalista Party (NP) who got 27,604 votes. She won by a hairline: a very slim 1,224 votes.
The vice mayoral post, meanwhile, went to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s daughter and incumbent Councilor Janella Marie Ejercito who got 29,939 votes against NP bet Rolando Bernardo’s 20,505.
However, the tandem’s congressional bet, Jannah Ejercito with 22,922 votes, lost to the reelectionist and Zamora patriarch, Ronaldo "Ronnie" Zamora’s 31,172. She is the niece of former president and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
The two Ejercito-Estradas both ran under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), while Jannah Ejercito ran as an independent.
Not as tight as before
When the younger Zamora declared his mayoral bid in early 2015, he said it was time to give San Juan residents a choice – “something that they didn’t have for a long time.” (READ: Mayoral bet Francis Zamora: Time to end ‘Estrada option’ in San Juan)
San Juan City has long been under the rule of the Ejercito-Estradas since Joseph Estrada was elected local chief executive in 1969 until 1986. His son, Jinggoy Estrada, served as vice mayor from 1987 to 1982, and mayor from 1992 to 2001.
Prior to Gomez’ win, Senator JV Ejercito, her son by the former president, was also mayor from 2001 to 2010.
The 2016 results in the local elections in the city, however, show signs of a possible decline in the Ejercitos’ support base.
While the winning vice mayor enjoyed a comfortable 9,434 lead over her closest rival, the lead of Gomez over Zamora was far less than what she enjoyed in the past.
The gap between the votes of Gomez and her opponents from 2010 to 2016 have narrowed as seen below:
In 2013, Gomez won by a landslide, with 33,685 votes – 26,482 votes more than Glenn Kapatiran’s 7,203.
The difference was also more sizeable in 2010. During her first mayoral bid, Gomez took 42,119 votes - 82% of total votes. She won by a difference of 38,279 against her opponents.
Meanwhile, the difference between the votes gathered each by Ronaldo Zamora and Jannah Ejercito for the lone congressional seat in the latest elections was bigger this year than in the past elections.
In 2013, Zamora won against Ejercito by only 1,460 votes. In 2016, the difference rose to 8,250 votes.
Duterte over Roxas
In January 2016, San Juan City “opened its doors” to Mar Roxas as he gained a key ally in Gomez, who is on her last term. The Manila mayor went for independent candidate Grace Poe.
The support, however, did not materialize on election day, as the Liberal Party (LP) bet got only 9,061 votes – 15.8% of those who voted in the city.
Roxas claimed the 3rd spot in San Juan, behind Poe who got 11,508 votes.
Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban, meanwhile, was the big winner in the city with 25,922 votes.
Very different from Roxas’ performance, another Gomez-endorsed candidate performed well in her city. Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr won in San Juan with 26,543 votes – 7,847 over administration candidate Leni Robredo’s 18,696. (READ: San Juan's Guia Gomez endorses Bongbong Marcos for VP)
The Ejercito-Estradas remain on top, but their influence on voters appears to have slackened through the years. – Rappler.com
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.