Jinggoy’s daughter fires up Estrada-Zamora feud
THE DAUGHTER of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada came out swinging against their family’s former political allies, the Zamoras, saying their only “achievement” in San Juan City was “building and repainting basketball courts.”
In a press conference held before the filing of her certificate of candidacy on Thursday, Councilor Janella Estrada belittled the contributions of Vice Mayor Francis Zamora and his father, Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, while crediting her Ejercito-Estrada clan with local government projects like the San Juan Medical Center, a post office and two city halls.
“Every [government building] here in San Juan was built by the Ejercito-Estradas,” said the
25-year-old who is running for vice mayor in the 2016 elections.
Reelectionist Mayor Guia Gomez, whom the younger Zamora is challenging next year, continued trumpeting the clan’s record, saying they helped lift San Juan from being a poor, fifth-class municipality to a “highly progressive and urbanized city.” She noted that in 1969, when Joseph Estrada first became San Juan mayor, he initiated a number of road and lighting projects and the construction of the San Juan National High School.
In an interview, Vice Mayor Francis Zamora disputed Janella’s disparaging assessment of the Zamoras’ work for the city. “For 2015 alone, [Rep.] Ronnie Zamora was able to include in the national budget in terms of infrastructure projects a total appropriation of P530 million for San Juan,” he said.
Among these projects, he said, were the construction of barangay and multipurpose halls, renovation or reconstruction of school buildings and improvement of the city’s drainage systems.
The younger Zamora said it both saddened and surprised him to know that Janella was “unaware” of these projects. “If she’s running for vice mayor and that’s all she knows, what can you expect? She’s not aware of the different infrastructure projects that have been going on in the different barangays. If you’re running for the position of vice mayor, I believe you should be aware of these things,” he said.
San Juan has been governed by a member of the Ejercito-Estrada since 1969. Their dominance was interrupted only by the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution and the election of Mayor Adolfo Sto. Domingo under the new Constitution.
Gomez is running for her third and last term as mayor. Janella is up against Councilor Rolando Bernardo for the vice mayoral post. Former Councilor Jana Ejercito, meanwhile, will try to take the congressional seat from the political veteran Ronnie Zamora.
“Will my conscience let me leave San Juaneños in other hands without an assurance that they will still get the kind of care that I gave?” Gomez said. “This candidacy is not a fight for my life or my own journey. This is our quest to attain a better life for our constituents, especially for the younger generation.”
But like Gomez, Jana and Janella declined to meet the Zamoras’ challenge for a debate. Jana conceded that the elder Zamora is “brilliant” but said intelligence is of no use if “you don’t know what the people want.”
“In public service, you have to immerse yourself with the people so you know what they really need,” said Jana, a niece of former President and now Manila Mayor Estrada.
Gomez, meanwhile, reiterated her previous statement that she would rather “act more and talk less.”
As for Janella, “they can have a debate among themselves. We’ll just present to them the projects we have accomplished.”
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