San Juan bet Edu Manzano: No need to be genius in Congress

MANILA, Philippines – Running against a longtime member of the House of Representatives, aspiring congressman of the lone district of San Juan City Edu Manzano focuses his campaign to win the hearts of voters.

"Para maging isang congressman, hindi po kailangang maging bar topnotcher. Hindi po kailangang maging henyo. Hindi po kailangang maging abogado. Ang importante po, kung ano ang nilalaman ng iyong puso, at kung sino po ang nakapaligid sa inyo," actor Manzano said during the campaign proclamation of Team One San Juan on Saturday, March 30.

(To become congressman, you don't need to be a bar topnotcher. You don't need to be a genius. You don't need to be a lawyer. What's important is what's inside your heart, and who surrounds you.)

Team One San Juan is of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino party, and is headed by mayoral candidate Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada.

Manzano's opponent is veteran lawmaker Ronaldo Zamora, a lawyer and a bar topnotcher who is part of the country's ruling party PDP-Laban.

SON'S SUPPORT. Edu Manzano is introduced by his son Luis Manzano at the proclamation rally of Team One San Juan. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

SON'S SUPPORT. Edu Manzano is introduced by his son Luis Manzano at the proclamation rally of Team One San Juan.

Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Manzano promised to allocate funds for the completion and improvement of basketball courts in San Juan. Manzano said he would also fix wellness centers for senior citizens.

"Hindi lang po natin tatapusin, kundi 'yan po ay gagawin nating mga multipurpose na istraktura (We won't just complete them, we will also turn them into multi-purpose structures)," Manzano said.

Manzano is not inexperienced in politics, having been former vice mayor of Makati City from 1998 to 2001. He also ran a failed vice-presidential campaign in 2010, after he was chosen as running mate of then-presidential candidate Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr.

Manzano is also banking on the clout and machinery of Janella Ejercito Estrada, a scion of the Ejercito-Estrada clan. The family has led San Juan for 5 decades.

Manzano emphasized that San Juaneños could not vote one without the other.

He said: "Importante po sa atin na ang congressman at ang mayor po ay nagtutulung-tulong. Hindi po puwedeng magkawahiwalay 'yan, kaya ang akin lang hinihingi sa inyo, suportahan 'nyo po ang ating mayor, Janella. Suportahan 'nyo po ang buong team One San Juan, at isama 'nyo rin po ang inyong lingkod na si Edu Manzano."

(It is important that the congressman and mayor help each other. We cannot separate them, so what I am asking from you is to support our mayor, Janella. Support the entire Team One San Juan, and include yours truly, Edu Manzano.) –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.