San Juan clash of clans: Estradas’ plans anger ‘ally’ | Inquirer News

San Juan clash of clans: Estradas’ plans anger ‘ally’

PAL TO FOE? San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora (left) has aired his family’s “shock” over the election plans reportedly being hatched by Mayor Guia Gomez, her son Sen. JV Ejercito and the city’s ruling Estrada family.

PAL TO FOE? San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora (left) has aired his family’s “shock” over the election plans reportedly being hatched by Mayor Guia Gomez, her son Sen. JV Ejercito and the city’s ruling Estrada family.

The political landscape is astir in San Juan as Vice Mayor Francis Zamora is considering a run for the mayoralty in a city that has been dominated by the family of former President Joseph Estrada for almost half a century.

Zamora, who also comes from a politically seasoned family headed by his father Ronaldo, the current San Juan representative and House minority leader, said he originally harbored no plans of challenging the incumbent mayor, Guia Gomez.


But now, “it is very clear to us that we have been dumped because they (Estradas) want to control all positions in San Juan: the position of mayor, vice mayor and congressman,” Zamora told reporters Thursday.


Citing news reports, he said the Estrada-Ejercito camp met with San Juan’s barangay chairs and city councilors on June 12. The local officials were reportedly gathered by Gomez, the elder Estrada, and his son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada at Camp Crame, where Jinggoy is detained on plunder charges arising from the pork barrel scam.

The agenda was said to be the clan’s political future in San Juan, where Joseph Estrada, then a popular movie star, debuted in politics as mayor in 1968. Estrada has a son with Gomez, Sen. JV Ejercito. Jinggoy is Estrada’s child with wife Loi, also a former senator. The elder Estrada is currently Mayor of Manila.

“In that meeting, it was very clear that their intent is to keep the city of San Juan under the control of their family,” said the 37-year-old Zamora. “This is a very clear message to everyone that they want to maintain their 46-year reign.”

Although no announcement had been made, he said, talk was rife that Gomez, 73, would seek reelection while Jinggoy’s daughter, Councilor Janella Estrada, would run for vice mayor and his wife Precy would seek a House seat.

He said this prompted Sen. Ejercito to say last week that he and his estranged brother Jinggoy were nearing reconciliation to forge a strategic alliance in the local elections.

“My father and I were shocked,” Zamora said. “Mayor Guia and I had a good working relationship. We ran together in 2010. We have a good working and personal relationship.”


Until he learned of the Estrada-Ejercito camp’s moves, Zamora said, his plan was to win his third and last term as vice mayor in 2016, and then run for mayor in 2019.

“Senator JV issued press statements last week saying I was going to run. I never declared anything. You can ask the people of San Juan. I was not going to run for mayor. I believe this was a presumption he made… (but) people talked about it, the media talked about it,” he said.

But in a statement responding to Zamora, Ejercito said it was the vice mayor’s family who wanted to build a dynasty in San Juan.

In a text message Thursday, the senator denied that the Estrada-Ejercito clan was out to snap up all key local positions in the city.

He also recounted that they even supported the candidacy of the elder Zamora over that of his own cousin Jana Ejercito in the 2013 elections.

“For the Zamoras, I ended up fighting many people who are not my enemies—and this is what they will do to us?” Ejercito said, claiming it was the Zamoras who wanted to get the positions for congressman and mayor because they “cannot wait anymore.”

“(T)he accusations Francis Zamora is hurling are twisted since this rift has never been about the continuation of political families in power in San Juan. This is a falling out because of trust,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we are now learning the hard way,” Ejercito said, adding that the rift between the two families was a result of the Estradas’ discovery that the Zamoras had been “moving behind our back since 2013” even after many years of receiving their support.

“Francis has since planned to run against Mayor Guia Gomez in 2016. We have no problem with competition. But we would’ve appreciated it if Francis had been frank about his ambition,” Ejercito said.

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“Please mention that I am the author of the antipolitical dynasty (bill) in the Senate. They are the ones who want to establish a dynasty, not us!” he stressed in his message to reporters.

TAGS: Guia Gomez

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