Sara Duterte endorses San Juan mayoral bid of Janella Ejercito

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter Sara Duterte distinguished herself from her father once again by endorsing the San Juan City mayoral bid of Janella Ejercito, daughter of senatorial candidate Jinggoy Estrada.

President Rodrigo Duterte had endorsed the mayoral bid of former San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora last Saturday, February 23, during a speech in Laguna. Zamora is secretary-general of the local chapter of the Chief Executive's political party PDP-Laban.

The younger Duterte expressed her support for Ejercito during the campaign rally of her political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago in San Juan City on Wednesday, February 27. They were hosted by San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.

"Ang sa amin naman tinitingnan namin kung sino ang receptive na tumanggap ng mga senators na mangampanya sa lugar nila," said Mayor Duterte when asked why she supports Ejercito.

(We look at who is receptive to accept our senators who wish to campaign in their area.)

"The President is a different entity from me, from HNP. Walang away. Magkaiba lang yung choices (There's no fight. We just have different choices.)," continued Sara.

The 28-year-old Janella stood onstage with Sara, her father Jinggoy, and Mayor Gomez as HNP candidates gave speeches and entertained the audience of San Juan residents.

The Ejercito-Estrada clan has dominated San Juan local politics for some 50 years. Jinggoy himself was San Juan mayor from 1992 to 2001.

It remains to be seen if Sara's endorsement of Janella will trump her father's endorsement of Zamora who had almost won the mayoralty from Gomez in 2016.

President Duterte is popular in the city, having won by landslide in the 2016 elections with 25,922 votes. Gomez' candidate then, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, had placed 3rd with a little over 9,000 votes.

Sara and the rest of HNP are set to woo yet another Estrada bailiwick on Wednesday. They will be campaigning in Manila where family patriarch Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada holds sway.

In the 2019 campaign so far, Sara had also set herself apart from her father by endorsing the senatorial bid of Jinggoy Estrada.

President Duterte had initially said he was also supporting Estrada's candidacy before eventually saying the pork-tainted former lawmaker is not part of his personal slate after all. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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