Photos by Angie Silva/Rappler
(UPDATED) The sibling rivalry goes on. This round, it seems, goes to reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, president of ruling PDP-Laban, said he is choosing Ejercito over his half-brother, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, to be included in the administration’s initial lineup.
Pimentel himself said this on Thursday, April 19, as he bared the initial names, including Ejercito. (READ: Pimentel vows to 'fight' for reelectionist allies in PDP-Laban slate)
“Oo kasi commitment ko kay JV yan na ipu-push ko inclusion nya sa PDP-Laban,” he said. (Yes because it is my commitment to JV to push for his inclusion in PDP-Laban.)
What about Estrada?
“'Andiyan si JV sa listahan eh. Sana ma-gets na ninyo (JV is already in the list. I hope you already get it)," Pimentel said.
Nearly a week later, when asked about the same question in a media forum, the PDP-Laban president gave more details.
In a nutshell, Pimentel said JV deserved the "credit." He said JV was the first the party considered as he was among lawmakers in the majority bloc who worked on the priorities of the Duterte administration.
"Una sa lahat, nauna na si JV na-kinonsider namin. Kasama ko naman sa majority bloc si JV. 'Yung mga achievements ng President under the Duterte administration ay 'yung mga signed laws. Mga batas na ginawa namin kinonsider achievements ng Duterte administration," Pimentel said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday, April 25.
(First of all, we considered JV first. He is with me in the majority bloc. The achievements of the President under the Duterte administration are the signed laws. the laws we passed were considered as achievements of the Duterte administration.)
"We have also to give credit where credit is due....We will give credit where credit is due and right now it is due with JV," he said.
Pimentel also said that both brothers were not only from the same family but also from the same political party, the PMP, so PDP-Laban can only include one of them in its senatorial slate.
“Sa overflow ng kandidato from PDP-Laban, as much as possible huwag naman galing doon sa isang pamilya ang mga kandidato at sa isang partido kasi one party sila (With the overflow of candidates from PDP Laban, as mich as possible, the candidates should not come from the same family and one party), PMP. If you allow the the brothers from one party, hindi na PDP slate 'yan (that is no longer a PDP slate),” he said.
Ejercito welcomed Pimentel’s decision and said he did not ask the Senate leader about it.
“I am thankful to SP [Senate President] Koko for that trust and confidence, but it was really his decision. There is no condition imposed that there should only be one member of the family,” Ejercito told reporters in a message.
“Perhaps SP Koko knows the performance of his colleagues in the Senate, that is probably his basis for giving priority to reelectionists,” he added.
Ejercito and Estrada are sons of former President Joseph Estrada with different women. The elder Jinggoy is the son of former senator Doctor Loi Estrada while JV’s mother is actress-turned-San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez. Their rivalry worsened because of politics in San Juan, where they both sat 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 funds.
Earlier, Estrada said he wants a coalition between PDP-Laban and the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, a party their father founded.
He also said that if he would not be included in the administration's ticket, he would still run as an independent candidate supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte. – With a report from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com