Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada has intervened in the public spat between his sons, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and San Juan Rep. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, and scolded them for making their tiff public.
“Pinagalitan ko na,” Estrada said. “Mali na ilabas yung samaan ng loob nila sa publiko. Ano na lang sasabihin ng (tao?) Kung yung mga anak ko di ko kaya, paano pa ko mamumuno sa publiko? (I’ve scolded them. It’s wrong for them to air their grudge in public. People might say, how can you lead the public when you can’t control even your own sons?)” Estrada told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Senator Estrada had earlier assailed his half-brother for allegedly using their reported rift to generate publicity for (the latter’s) senatorial campaign in next year’s elections.
In a provincial sortie, Ejercito discussed the “rift” between him and the senator and described their relationship as an “open book.”
In a statement, Senator Estrada said he was “very upset and deeply hurt over… (JV’s) efforts to generate publicity… at my expense.”
The older Estrada, 75, said he summoned his two sons for a “heart to heart” talk at the family residence in San Juan on Sunday. He said he was confident that the two could resolve their issues soon, adding that their latest spat was triggered by a “misunderstanding” over a newspaper report.
“They’re old enough to know what’s right and wrong,” he said.
Estrada said he has no idea how the sibling rivalry started. He noted that the younger Estrada was enrolled at Ateneo de Manila University while Ejercito went to La Salle.
“Walang naagrabyado (nobody was aggrieved),” he recalled. “I was very fair to both of them.”
In a statement, Ejercito said Friday night that he had always regarded his brother with respect.
“I don’t hide the fact that I disagree with him on certain, mostly political, issues. However, I’ve never said or done anything that would lead anybody to conclude our relationship is hostile or antagonistic,” Ejercito clarified.
Referring to the Bacolod interview, Ejercito said he was just responding to the insinuation made by a reporter that his brother and him would always take the same side of any question, presumably to the detriment of the nation.
Reporter’s, not mine
“My brother finds the words ‘sibling rivalry’ objectionable to describe our relationship. Those are the reporter’s phrase, not mine,” he said. “If my answers in that interview hurt him, that was not my intention. Neither did I mean to gain political capital at his expense by making our disagreement public.”
But the former President speculated that the conflict might have started when Ejercito succeeded Estrada as San Juan mayor and brought in his own people. He said Estrada’s men complained about the replacement, a move he described as “natural” in any changing of the guards.
“I think the intrigue comes from their own men,” the older Estrada said.
The Estradas have been criticized for putting up what detractors describe as a political dynasty, initially in San Juan and later in the national government. The former President himself is running for Manila mayor in 2013, three years after he lost his second bid for the presidency.
Should Ejercito win, he would spend at least three years working in the same chamber with his half brother, Senate President Pro Tempore Estrada, who once worked with his mother, former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, in the same Senate.