Jinggoy Estrada, the Ejercitos and San Juan City politics

HEATING UP. The Ejercitos and Estradas may just band together against Francis Zamora who is running for mayor of San Juan in 2016.

HEATING UP. The Ejercitos and Estradas may just band together against Francis Zamora who is running for mayor of San Juan in 2016.

A few months back, barangay captains of San Juan were summoned by detained senator Jinggoy Estrada to his Camp Crame quarters. Most of them heeded the call, eager to hear what message the senator had for them.

Was he going to be released soon? Was he running for another post, like VP perhaps, even if he was locked up in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center? Was there good news or bad news?

It appears that among other things, Jinggoy wanted to get their support for his daughter Janella Marie “Jel” Ejercito, who is reportedly eyeing the vice mayor post in San Juan. Jinggoy’s eldest, Jel is the youngest councilor of San Juan to win at age 23 in the 2013 elections. She also got the highest number of votes in the 2nd district of San Juan.

Besides Jel, Jinggoy’s wife Precy was also reported to be a possible candidate for Congress, and if she does decide to, would be challenging the incumbent Congressman Ronny Zamora. If she gets cold feet or shuns the world of politics altogether, Jannah Ejercito, a cousin of both Senators Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito, will give it a shot. Sounds familiar, this style of politics in San Juan.

But here’s the thing. Francis Zamora, the incumbent San Juan vice mayor and son of Congressman Ronny Zamora emerged the leader in a recent internal survey.

In a poll of 300 respondents, he supposedly got 58% compared to the incumbent Mayor Guia Gomez who got 37%. This is what probably gave him the confidence, or shall we say the guts, to seek the mayorship and go against Guia Gomez in the coming 2016 elections.

Not interested?

Jel has refuted Francis’ claims that she was interested in running for vice mayor, saying she’s happy doing what she’s doing as a councilor. But then the survey numbers also indicate it’s a wise decision to stay put. Jel rated a low 5%.

73-year-old Guia is understandably upset about the decision of Francis to challenge her in 2016 but politics is politics. Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada had been more cool in his reaction when he was reported by the Inquirer as saying, “It’s a democracy; anybody can run. Why stop somebody from running? It’s a free country.”

But he also was reportedly overheard as saying, “Di baleng matalo ako sa Manila, huwag lang si Guia sa San Juan.” (Never mind if I lose in Manila, but never Guia in San Juan.) After all, the Estradas have been in power there for more than 4 decades. (Guia is the mother of another Estrada son, Senator JV Ejercito.)

In that meeting in Camp Crame which Guia and Erap also attended (remember, JV is not exactly in good terms with half-brother Jinggoy), the former president, Jinggoy and Guia herself all spoke. Dutifully, all barangay captains who were present pledged their support, but who wouldn’t, given circumstances?

Interestingly, those who were privy to what happened said that even JV, the not-so-beloved brother of Jinggoy, came. But perhaps unable to control the temptation to be a teeny bit nasty, Jinggoy kept his half-brother waiting for over two hours outside the detention center.

In 2016, election watchers are surely keeping their eyes glued to San Juan, where politics could mend strained familial ties. – Chay F. Hofileña/Rappler.com