Guia Gomez, Erap’s daughter up against Zamora in 2016 polls
MANILA, Philippines — The erstwhile political allies of the Ejercito-Estrada clan in San Juan vowed to end corruption and champion participatory governance should they succeed in ending the decades-long hold of the family in the city.
In a gathering at the San Juan Gym on Tuesday, themed “San Juan Malaya!,” Vice Mayor Francis Zamora formally announced that he would run for mayor while his father, House Minority Floor Leader Ronaldo Zamora, would seek reelection in the city’s lone congressional district in the 2016 elections. Their ally Councilor Rolando Bernardo, on the other hand, is running for the vice mayoral post.
The Zamoras will go against Mayor Guia Gomez, who’s running for her third and final term, and former Councilor Jana Ejercito, who lost to the elder Zamora in the 2013 midterm elections. Gomez and Ejercito announced their candidacy last week, along with Janella Estrada who is running for vice mayor.
The alliance between the city’s two most influential political families started to crumble in June after the Estradas dumped the Zamoras following Gomez’s meeting with detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and the city’s barangay chairs, where the clan’s future in San Juan was supposedly discussed.
Addressing the hundreds of supporters gathered at the event, the elder Zamora said “San Juan will be able to freely choose in a true election.” A kind of election which he said the city “never had in the last few years.”
His son, on the other hand, vowed to “end corruption” in the city and serve its citizens “with utmost honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.” He, however, did not elaborate on his charge of corruption against their former allies.
The vice mayor also said that should he be elected as city mayor, he would make sure that progress would not only center on one family, alluding to the Ejercito-Estrada clan, whom he said had run the city as if it were a “family corporation.” He noted that residents in the city knew that some establishments in the city, such as gasoline stations, were being run by the family.
For the younger Zamora, an effective mayor is one who goes down to his constituents to learn and see for himself their condition in order to create appropriate programs that address their concerns—something which Gomez has been unable to do.
The father and son also introduced on Tuesday their lineup of city councilors, which included three reelectionists, basketball player Paul Artadi, YouTube sensation Ericka Villongco and actor Lance Raymundo. The vice mayor has described their lineup as leaders who are “energetic and vibrant” with “new ideas” for the city.
Reacting to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s statement last week that he and his father don’t have any debt of gratitude after all he has done for them, the younger Zamora said in a chance interview “it’s the people to whom we owe our gratitude.”
“We are here not because of one family but because of the trust given to us by the residents [of San Juan], which we were able to pay back by giving honest and good service,” the vice mayor said.
As if the clash between the two former allies isn’t “interesting” enough, the elder Zamora challenged their opponents to a debate, which he said had never been done in the city. The vice mayor said that the debate would let the electorate know who had the “capability and programs” for the citizens of San Juan, who would vote “not because of the personality but because of the programs and intentions.”
Sought for comment, Gomez begged off to a debate, saying that it’s “not my cup of tea.” She, however, noted that she is “willing to answer questions.”
The mayor said that the Zamoras should prove their corruption allegations, adding that if such existed the two are also involved since they are part of the administration before the fallout. She also pointed out that while the 800-square-meter lot on Paterno Street is hers, the gasoline station there is only leasing on her lot.
She also defended herself to allegations that she is not going around the city, noting that she knows the city “better” even than her own son, former San Juan mayor and now Sen. JV Ejercito.
Interestingly, the elder Zamora said that they would be ready to patch things up with the Ejercito-Estrada clan, with the vice mayor even saying that “we are willing to talk to them and try to resolve whatever issues we have.” The younger Zamora, however, noted that “for now we have to focus on our mission to free San Juan for it to have change.” SFM
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