By Ellson Quismorio
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte — Rival siblings Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and former Senate president pro-tempore Jinggoy Estrada have a very high-profile “peacemaker” in Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
The mayor and daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte bared this herself during the alliance agreement signing of the national party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), Tingog Sinirangan party-list group, and the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party Wednesday at the Tacloban Astrodome here.
Mayor Duterte, leader of HNP, endorsed the senatorial candidacies of both Ejercito and Estrada as well as 12 others during the event which attracted at least 3,000 people. Only Estrada was present as his younger half-brother Ejercito begged off the previous evening.
In her speech before the crowd, Duterte chided the two for seemingly trying to avoid each other at all costs. “Kapag present si Senator Jinggoy, wala si Senator JV. Kapag present si Senator JV, wala si Senator Jinggoy. (If Senator Jinggoy is present, Senator JV is not. If Senator JV is present, Senator Jinggoy is not),” she said, eliciting laughter from the attendees.
According to her, it was Manila mayor and former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada himself who asked her to look after his two sons via a phone call, where Estrada shared to Duterte his most ardent wish for his two boys to reconcile.
“Please pakitulungan na lang yung mga anak ko. Sana naman magkaibigan na sila. (Please help my children. I hope they become friends),” she quoted Estrada as saying. “(I told Mayor Estrada), yes daddy! Yes papa! Naki-daddy na lang din ako sa kanya. (I called him daddy as well),” she narrated.
Mayor Estrada fathered JV from an extramarital relationship with Guia Gomez, the current mayor of San Juan City. Jinggoy, whose mother is former first lady and senator Dr. Loi Estrada, is the eldest among the ex-president’s children.
Among the ex-president’s children, Jinggoy and JV are the ones who went into politics. Before the Tacloban pact-signing-slash-sortie, former senator Estrada told Manila-based reporters that he has no problem sharing the stage with his half-brother. “Nanghihinayang ako na wala si JV. (I regret that JV is absent). I wish he was here. I would have loved to share the same stage with him,” he said.