Erap’s sons make fresh bid to rejoin Senate

JV Ejercito                                                                                                           Jinggoy Estrada —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada led the third batch of aspirants who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City.

It will be the second time for the 58-year-old Estrada to make a bid to return to the Senate since he was charged with plunder for the 2014 pork barrel scam.

Estrada served two terms as senator from 2004 to 2016, but he was in jail from 2014 until he was released on bail in 2017 for plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“I will just leave it to the courts to decide the case. If you remember in 2004. I also had a pending case and I left it up to the court,” he said, referring to the first time he ran for the Senate, three years after his father, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, was ousted from office.

The younger Estrada registered his candidacy a day after his 51-year-old half-brother, former Sen. JV Ejercito, also filed his COC for a second senatorial term.

Aside from Jinggoy, the other notable candidate to make official her senatorial bid on the third day of the mandated 8-day period was Moro women’s rights advocate Samira Gutoc.

Gutoc also ran for senator in 2019 under the Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso in 2019, but finished 25th with over 4.3 million votes.

1 presidential, 4 Senate bets

Jinggoy and Gutoc were the best known among those who submitted their COCs on Sunday, including two other aspirants for the Senate who were identified only as Najar “Jinggoy” Salih and Luz “Lala Ganda” Aquino.

A certain Tiburcio Marcos also filed his COC for president, but the Comelec did not release any information from his filing.

Aside from the one presidential and four senatorial candidacies, the Comelec also received certificates of nomination and acceptance from 10 party list groups.

The party list groups are Abono, 1-UTAP, VOICE Philippines, Manibela, Patrol, 1A SECAP, ACT ONE, Ilocano Defenders, 4Ps and Maharlika, bringing to 37 the number of parties seeking congressional seats under the party list system.

Since the start of the registration period, 24 aspirants have declared their candidacies for the Senate, four for vice president and eight for president.

4 candidates for VP

Aside from Marcos, the other presidential candidates are, in the order of their filing, Laurencio Yulaga of Philippine Green Republican Party, independent Edmundo Rubi, Sen. Manny Pacquiao of PDP-Laban-Promdi-PCM Alliance, independent Leysander Ordenes, Jose Montemayor of Democratic Party of the Philippines, and independent Dave Aguila and independent Victoriano Inte.

For vice president, the declared candidates are, in the order of their filings, Alexander Lague of Philippine Green Republican Party, independent Rochelle David, Manila Rep. Jose Atienza Jr. of PDP-Laban (Pacquiao wing)-Promdi-PCM Alliance and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go of PDP-Laban (Cusi wing).

Starting on Oct. 29, the Comelec will start posting the tentative list of candidates on its website and at the Comelec office where the COCs were filed so that aspirants can check their names.