Ejercito-Estrada clan: ‘Infra accomplishment, services justify our election’
MANILA — “We should not be replaced.”
This was the campaign pitch made by the Ejercito-Estrada clan to the crowd of around 8,000 who came to the proclamation rally of Mayor Guia Gomez’s Partido Magdiwang Saturday night at the city’s Plaza ng Masa.
Jana Ejercito, a former city councilor, who is again vying for the city’s lone congressional seat, carried her clan’s strongest message to the mostly orange-shirted audience that they “should not be replaced” in the city that their family has held since her uncle Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada took office as mayor of what was then a municipality in 1969.
“From the administrations of President Erap to Senator Jinggoy [Estrada], Senator JV [Ejercito] and Mayor Guia, we have accomplished a number of infrastructure projects and initiated various medical and educational assistance programs. We will not let [our opponents] taint our name,” Jana said.
Estrada, who is running for his second term as Manila mayor, briefly addressed the audience by saying that he came to throw his support behind his clan because he could “never forsake San Juan.”
The Ejercito-Estrada clan is up for what may be its toughest political challenge in the city where it all started for its patriarch. They will be facing off with their erstwhile political allies, Rep. Ronaldo Zamora and Vice Mayor Francis Zamora.
Jana is up against the elder Zamora, to whom she lost in the 2013 midterm elections. Gomez, who is on her third and final term, is running against the younger Zamora; while Janella Estrada, a first-term councilor and detained Senator Jinggoy’s daughter, is facing off with the Zamoras’ political ally, Councilor Totoy Bernardo.
Janella came to the defense of her family, whom the Zamoras alleged has done nothing for San Juan, by enumerating the “major accomplishments” for the city. Among these are the San Juan Medical Center, San Juan National High School, the San Juan campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, San Juan Arena and the new city hall.
“Yan ba ang walang nagawa (Is that what one would call do-nothing)?” Janella asked the audience, and then asking them again if the Zamoras have done any significant projects for the city and its residents.
Gomez, mother to Estrada’s son, Senator JV Ejercito, harped on the clan’s administrations having been raised San Juan’s revenues from just P2.5 million in 1969 to around P2 billion today.
She also compared the “treachery” supposedly done by the Zamoras to her, to what Brutus did to Julius Caesar.
“What they did to me is even more painful to what Brutus did to Caesar. At least Brutus was facing Caesar when he stabbed him. They stabbed me in the back when they told me to sleep soundly,” Gomez said.
The Zamoras severed ties with the Ejercito-Estradas last year after alleging that the latter dumped them supposedly in an effort to ensure family’s control of the city. Gomez, however, denied the Zamoras’ claim, saying that it was just a “cover-up to their betrayal.”
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was barred by the Sandiganbayan from attending his daughter’s proclamation rally, endorsed the candidacies of his family members to the city’s residents, warning them at the same time not to make hasty decisions in choosing San Juan’s next leaders.
“If you make a wrong decision, it’s our city that will suffer,” said the senator, in a statement. He is currently detained at Camp Crame for his alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam supposedly engineered by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
He also called on his supporters in the city to rally behind Janella, saying that should she win the vice mayoral post, “I would personally guide her.”
Jana said that San Juaneños should “stop supporting traditional politicians,” and should support public servants.
“We’re not running because of personal interest. We are running because we want to continue the kind of service we are giving you,” Jana said. SFM
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