Latest Stories


Name-calling gets nastier in Laguna



Voters in Laguna are choosing between “Asiong Aksaya” and “Congressman Epal”—monikers that rival candidates for governor are hurling at each other in their first-time face-off in the May elections.

“Asiong Aksaya” is a pun derived from the onscreen character “Asiong Salonga” that Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito played in the 2011 remake of the 1961 film that starred his uncle, former President Joseph Estrada.

“Epal,” on the other hand, is a Filipino slang for attention grabber. Ejercito refers to fourth district Rep. Edgar “Egay” San Luis by this name.

And the mudslinging gets uglier.

San Luis, in his campaign sorties, never fails to mention Ejercito’s “tardiness.” He cites one instance when the governor arrived late for a meeting with President Benigno Aquino III to discuss the supposed dredging of the flood basin Laguna de Bay.

“He would refer to me as a son of a bold star and accuse me of being (a drug) addict, and that’s not very nice,” Ejercito said of San Luis in a recent phone interview.

He hit back, accusing the congressman of spending most of his time in casinos or playing golf.

Ejercito, 49, is seeking a second term under the United Nationalist Alliance. An actor like his late father, George Estregan, Ejercito entered politics in 2001 when he was elected mayor of Pagsanjan town and held that office up to 2010.

“My long record of service can no longer be disputed,” he bragged.

During his first term as governor, he said, Laguna’s annual gross income rose from P1.7 billion to P2.3 billion.

He said he was able to build 286 more classrooms and hire 300 more teachers, bringing down the teacher-pupil ratio of 1:80 down to 1:45.

State hospital facilities have been upgraded and the provincial capitol and sports complex improved, Ejercito said. At least 12,000 new businesses emerged and the number of tourist arrivals doubled yearly from two million in 2010 to 4.8 million last year.

These were the outcomes of his tourism campaign from his “connections” in show business, he said.

“(Given) my popularity and performance, how can he beat that?” Ejercito said.

Running against a movie star does not threaten San Luis though.


“The people of Laguna know better. We’re (talking of) a serious matter here and people know that we don’t need a governor like Asiong Salonga or El Kamote or whatever,” he said. In 2012, Ejercito starred in the movie “El Presidente.”

San Luis, 57, is the youngest son of former Laguna Gov. Felicisimo San Luis, who kept the position for 33 years until 1992.

San Luis became congressman in 2007 and ran unopposed for a second term in 2010. His late brother, Rodolfo, was also representative of the fourth district.

Asked what made him run for governor under the administration’s Liberal Party, he pointed at “the graft and corruption at the provincial capitol.”

San Luis promised to bring development to the entire province, particularly to push for the creation of a Metro Laguna.

He said Metro Laguna would be composed of the bigger municipalities and cities in the first and second districts, namely: San Pedro, Biñan City, Sta. Rosa City, Cabuyao City, Calamba City and Los Baños town.

“Eventually, they will separate from the province, so why wait for that to happen?” he said.

San Luis said rapid urbanization was leaving the rest of Laguna behind.  With the separation of Metro Laguna, the province’s budget could be wholly allotted for agro-industrialization in the third and fourth districts.

Aside from Ejercito’s wife, Pagsanjan Mayor and reelectionist Maita, his two younger brothers—Gherome Eric and Gerald—are aspiring for seats in the provincial board, representing the first and fourth districts. On the other hand, San Luis’ son, Rai-ann, is also seeking to become a board member in the fourth district.

Dynasties are not a problem as long as elected officials perform their jobs, Ejercito said. But to San Luis, dynasties remain a gray area in the Constitution that must be revisited.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 2013 elections , Asiong Salonga , Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito , President Joseph Estrada , Rep. Edgar “Egay” San Luis

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Militants kill 14 Algerian soldiers in ambush
  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land
  • Transcript reveals confusion over ferry evacuation
  • Sports

  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace