UNA taps Jinggoy Estrada as main endorser, whether brother JV likes it or not

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Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Despite the recent spat between former Joseph Estrada’s sons, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will still try to convince Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to join the group’s sorties throughout the country to help boost its candidates’ chances at the polls, according to campaign manager Toby Tiangco.

Tiangco said he wants Jinggoy in UNA’s sorties as main endorser especially now that the local campaign season has kicked off and would be taking much of the time of the former president who is running for mayor of Manila.

Jinggoy is seemingly reluctant to campaign for his half-brother Joseph Victor Ejercito, who is running for the Senate.

Tension between the two resurfaced last month after Jinggoy’s planned advertisements to endorse his younger brother failed to push through.

Ejercito later issued a statement saying he did not reject Jinggoy’s endorsement, but that the latter’s proposed TV ads could affect his own, considering the time limits set by the Commission on Elections.

When asked by reporters Sunday night if he was willing to campaign for his half-brother, Jinggoy said his brother does not appear to need his help.

“He does not need my endorsement so I cannot do anything,” Jinggoy said.

Asked if he would campaign for UNA, he replied: “If they need me.”

He also said he intends to focus on helping his father campaign for the Manila mayoralty post and would go house to house to court votes.

But Tiangco said UNA needs Jinggoy in the campaign.

The former president, who has been a crowd drawer at UNA’s sorties, is now expected to devote all his time to the local campaign, Tiangco explained. Another UNA leader, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, cannot join sorties because of his poor eyesight.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has also been a staple in many UNA events, is giving priority to his official functions, according to Tiangco.

Tiangco noted that Binay had been tasked by President Aquino to attend an event in Paris later this month and would thus be unable to join UNA rallies.

He said Jinggoy could be a major endorser for UNA since the Senate is on recess and he has no official functions to attend.

UNA candidates resumed their campaign Monday and visited the vote-rich province of Laguna, where they were joined by Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito.

In a statement, the Laguna governor said the UNA candidates had vowed to work for the rehabilitation of the Laguna de Bay to help reduce flooding in lakeside communities.

The project has long been delayed, and so far, the administration has put forward no viable program to address the flooding problem, Ejercito said.

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