Feuding Estrada brothers vow to work together in Senate, says dadBy Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Can former president Joseph Estrada’s feuding sons co-exist in the Senate?
If all goes according to plan, San Juan Representative Jose Victor Ejercito will join his half-brother, Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, in a chamber that has a history of relatives simultaneously holding positions.
Ejercito, the former president’s son with former actress and now San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, is set to file his certificate of candidacy next week as part of the senatorial ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Should he win, he would share three years with his brother Jinggoy, who will end his six-year term in 2016, at the Senate. Jinggoy, Senate president pro tempore, is Estrada’s son with his wife, ex-Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito.
Their father downplayed Friday the idea that his two sons might end up taking their reported rivalry to the Senate floor. He said he had gotten their “commitment” to work together and set aside personal differences.
“Isa lang sinabi ko. Sige, mag-away kayo kung gusto n’yong mapadali ang buhay ng tatay n’yo,” the 75-year-old Estrada said.
Estrada described as “petty” the issues often dividing JV and Jinggoy. He said most of them concerned local issues in the political bailiwick of San Juan, like when the two opt to support rival candidates.
Estrada noted that it would not look good in public if his two sons could not work together, especially with the expectation that politicians were supposed to serve as a unifying force for the country.
“I told them not to destroy my name,” he said in Filipino, to which both sons purportedly “listened.” “I brought them up well. They listen to me.”
Who’s more good-looking is also a non-issue, Estrada said in jest, for they both know that they were no match to their father. “They know that for sure. Their eyesight is not poor,” he said.
In a press conference more than a week ago, JV Ejercito was asked about his rivalry with the older Jinggoy. He said the relationship had improved.
“The relationship is much better now than it was before,” he had said. “Probably, we’re both mature. We’ve both matured already.”
In previous interviews with the Inquirer, Jinggoy was evasive about his relationship with JV Ejercito.
Having siblings in the same chamber would not be a first in the case of Estrada’s two sons. At present, there is Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and his older sister, Sen. Pia Cayatano. Jinggoy also served in the Senate while his mother Loi was also a senator.