MANILA, Philippines—Ejercito out, Estrada in.
San Juan Rep. Jose Victor Ejercito has decided to drop his surname and instead use “Estrada,” his widely popular father’s screen surname, to further boost his chances of winning in next year’s senatorial election.
Ejercito on Friday said he arrived at the decision after seeing the results of the latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys, showing him improving from eighth to fourth place in the Magic 12.
In a recent Pulse survey, Ejercito tied for the third slot with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. Senators Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero took the top two slots.
“I would attribute the jump to the ‘Estrada factor,’” Ejercito said in a press conference in Quezon City.
Following the advice of his father, former President Joseph Estrada, he had asked survey companies to use “Estrada” as his surname. He said he felt that he was not as popular in rural areas as an “Ejercito.”
The congressman said he would have kept his original surname had the surveys conducted in August and September not shown improvements in his rating.
In the SWS survey, for instance, Ejercito ranked fourth, behind Senators Francis Escudero (1st), Loren Legarda (2nd), and Alan Peter Cayetano (3rd).
Four other prospective United Nationalist Alliance candidates were in the Magic 12: Rep. Jack Enrile (5th), Sen. Gregorio Honasan (6th), former Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri (9th), and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s daughter Nancy (12th).
An Ejercito victory would mean that there would be two Estrada sons working in the same chamber, at least for the next three years. Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, the Senate President Pro Tempore, was reelected in 2010 and will serve until 2016.
Asked how he would be able to work with his half-brother, with whom he is known to have a rivalry, Ejercito said: “The relationship is much better now than it was before.”
“Probably we’re both mature (now). We’ve both matured already, so just wait. That will be one of the things to watch (out for),” he added.