‘Heckling, booze’ turn San Juan polls toxic
AS LONGTIME allies become rivals, the electoral clash between the two politically entrenched families in San Juan has taken a nasty turn.
The camp of reelectionist Mayor Guia Gomez, from the currently dominant Estrada-Ejercito clan, released to the media a video clip showing Rep. Ronaldo Zamora cursing at her supporters during a sortie in Barangay Pasadena on April 10.
In the video, people were supposedly heard shouting “Guia pa more” and disrupting the speech of the Zamoras’ vice mayoral candidate, Councilor Totoy Bernardo. This prompted the congressman to tell them in Filipino: “Don’t you dare do that to me or you and your family will regret it.” Zamora ended this warning with an invective.
In a statement, Gomez, mother of former San Juan mayor and now Sen. JV Ejercito, said it “disturbed and deeply saddened [her] that such lingo could come from a person expected to shun street language.”
“I would not be surprised if San Juaneños, given their capacity to discern who should represent them before the rest of the world, would now look rather disappointedly at the unrefined tantrum of their representative in Congress,” she said.
Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, who is challenging Gomez for the mayoralty, came to his father’s defense, saying the Pasadena incident was a “deliberate effort to disrupt our caucus” and a “prelude of what they (Estrada-Ejercitos) can do on Election Day.”
Francis said they had received information that the three men behind the heckling were “notorious troublemakers” in the area who were made to drink liquor by barangay officials allied with Gomez hours before the Zamora campaign program began.
These men not only yelled out Gomez’s campaign slogan but also “shouted invectives at us.”
“This has never happened before” in San Juan, said Francis, who had waged four election campaigns. He said this unprecedented hostility from the Gomez camp was probably caused by the “Pandora’s Box” Bernardo had opened.
Throughout the Zamora campaign, he said, Bernardo has been telling voters about City Hall’s alleged mismanagement of the San Juan Medical Center and other anomalies.
Francis apologized for his father’s outburst, but said the elder Zamora was just “sternly warning the drunkards not to hurt our supporters… especially since there were women and children.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.