Subangdako, Mandaue City
THERE are two Ejercitos running for a seat in the Senate this coming election and they are half brothers, being the sons of former president Jose Marcelo Ejercito, commonly known as Erap Estrada. They are Jose Victor Gomez Ejercito, or JV Ejercito, and Jose Pimentel Ejercito, or Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, but the latter prefers to be known as Estrada. Both got Jose as their first names and both are endorsed by Sara Duterte’s HNP party.
Previous election results would show that an Estrada would hardly make it in the voters’ preference in Central Visayas. Maybe because of the stigma attached to the family name. The Oust Estrada movement during Erap’s presidency was really strong in the region. However, as years went by, this stigma slowly faded as voters were not totally convinced by the evidence against the former president and the people saw a different Estrada in JV Ejercito while he was in Congress and now in the Senate, especially among the A to C classes. Unfortunately for the family, the stigma however resurrected when his half-brother Jinggoy was involved in the PDAF scam and in fact was sent to prison. This made me question the former president’s decision to allow Jinggoy to run together with his half-brother JV. Maybe he was just being a father.
The question is do we need an Estrada in the Senate? The answer is yes because as lawmakers both did good. Jinggoy has his Kasambahay Law, while JV is known for his masterpiece legislation, the Universal Health Care Law, which Senator Ping would like to call the “JV Ejercito Law” and the Economic and Financial Literacy Law.
However, as a public servant, we definitely need only one of the Ejercitos in the Senate and without batting an eyelash it is JV Ejercito. It’s very clear to us that JV does things by the book. He is a stickler for following the rule of law in every aspect of being a public servant, thus will assure us that he will always be in the right side of history. This character surely what made him the national president of the Philippine Jaycees, or JCI, before.
Both served as mayors of San Juan, but it was JV who fought for the setting up of a masjid, or a prayer area for Muslims at the Greenhills Shopping Mall, showing a character that no concern is too small for him and that he has a genuine desire to help. His kind of a public servant was also demonstrated when he was proactive in addressing the legitimate concerns of his fellow motorcycle riders and I am one of those riders.
Amidst our violent reactions, JV Ejercito did not give up. He did the legwork and spoke directly to the parties concerned. He served as the de facto mediator between us, motorcycle riders, and the government agencies involved in the implementation of the law. He is very prolific and his handshake was a contract. He brought up the motorcycle riders’ concerns to President Duterte who ordered the suspension of the implementation of the law.