Is Senate big enough for Estrada sons Jose, Jose Victor?By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
If all goes according to the Estrada game plan, San Juan Rep. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito will join his half-brother, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, in a chamber that has a history of close relations serving simultaneously—at no great bother to the Filipino voter.
Ejercito, the ex-president’s son by his mistress, ex-starlet and now San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, is on the senatorial ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). To boost his chances, Ejercito is dropping his surname and will be using “Estrada,” the screen name of his wildly popular ex-movie star father.
Should he win, Ejercito will be sharing the Senate for three years with his half-brother, Jinggoy, the Senate president pro tempore whose six-year term will not end until 2016. Jinggoy is Estrada’s son by his wife, Loi Ejercito, the ex-senator.
The father on Friday downplayed the prospect that his two sons could play out their sibling rivalry on the Senate floor. He said he had gotten their “commitment” to work together and set aside personal differences.
“I told them, go ahead, fight, if you want to hasten your father’s demise,” the 75-year-old Estrada said in Filipino.
Estrada described as “petty” the issues dividing JV and Jinggoy. He said these mainly concerned local issues in the Estradas’ San Juan political bailiwick, such as when the two supported rival candidates.
He said it would not look good for his two sons not to be able to work together as politicians are expected to serve as a unifying force in the country.
“I told them not to destroy my name,” he said, to which the two supposedly “listened.”
“I brought them up well. They listen to me,” he said.
As to which son is better looking is also a non-issue as they both know that they are no match for their father, he said. “They know that for sure. Their eyesight is not poor,” said Estrada.
Asked at a press conference last week about his rivalry with Jinggoy, Ejercito said relations had improved.
“The relationship is much better now than it was before,” he said.
“Probably, we’re both mature now. We’ve both matured already,” Ejercito said.
Jinggoy has been evasive whenever the issue was brought up in previous interviews.
Members of the same family serving in the Senate will not be a first in the case of Estrada’s two sons. There is the example of Alan Peter Cayetano, the minority leader, and his older sister, Pia Cayetano. Jinggoy also served in the Senate at the same time as his mother, Loi.