By Ben Rosario and Jel Santos
The mayoral race in San Juan City is shaping up to be a fight between President Duterte of the PDP-Laban and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is spearheading Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party.
During a recent campaign sortie in Laguna, President Duterte endorsed the candidacy of former vice mayor Francis Zamora for mayor of San Juan City.
“I am very thankful for the endorsement of Pres. Duterte as PDP-Laban’s official mayoral candidate in San Juan. The endorsement of the president is a big thing as he has many supporters all over the country. It is a big help,” he said.
On Wednesday, Duterte-Carpio endorsed incumbent Vice Mayor Janella Estrada for city mayor and her slate during Hugpong’s sortie in San Juan City.
Mayor Guia Gomez is on her last term as mayor.
San Juan was the first of two campaign stops for Duterte-Carpio and her choice senatorial bets. The group motored to San Andres in Manila for the afternoon campaign rally.
Actor-TV host Edu Manzano is running under Estrada’s ticket and will challenge incumbent Rep. Ronnie Zamora for the lone congressional seat of San Juan. Ronnie is the father of Francis.
The Zamoras have the backing of the PDP-Laban headed by President Duterte.
Asked why she and her father are supporting political rivals in San Juan, Duterte-Carpio said being the highest official of the land, President Duterte is “allowed to have his personal choices.”
“The president is a different entity from HNP so walang away. Magkaiba lang ang choices,” the Davao City chief executive explained.
A huge crowd attended Wednesday morning’s campaign sortie that saw the feuding clan of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada demonstrating unity in facing the Zamora challenge.
Gomez and her son, re-electionist Sen. JV Ejercito shared the Hugpong ng Pagbabago stage with Vice Mayor Estrada, the daughter of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
Asked to comment on the well-publicized sibling rivalry between JV and Jinggoy, Duterte-Carpio said she does not believe that the animosity between the two San Juan leaders will not heal.
“Alam ninyo, sa lahat ng bagay, sa politika man o ano, blood is thicker than water,” she said.
But when she introduced the senatorial candidate on stage, the mayor elicited laughter when she introduced JV.
“Ang susunod po ay kaaway ni Jinggoy Estrada. Wala naman siya diri,” she said ( Next is Jinggoy Estrada’s enemy. But he is not here)
Turning serious, Duterte-Carpio then introduced Sen. Ejercito as “President Duterte’s partner for health laws.”
“I showed Mayor Sara our anti-illegal drug accomplishments here in San Juan, hopefully, she could relay this to Pres. Duterte in order to change his mind on who he will he support,” vice mayor Estrada said.
“I am really thankful to Mayor Sara for endorsing the whole line up of ‘One San Juan.’ Despite that I was not the one endorsed by the president, I still support his advocacy. Actually, we have the same advocacy when I ran as vice mayor – to get rid of illegal drugs,” she added.