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End of an era? Estrada-Ejercito clan suffers crushing defeat in 2019 polls

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, meeting the press after casting his vote at P. Burgos Elementary School in Sta. Mesa, Manila in 2019 Midterm Elections. (Daniel M. Iglesias/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Is it time for the Ejercito-Estrada clan to take a break from politics?

The clan’s patriarch, former president and reelectionist Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is losing by a wide margin to mayoral contender Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial, unofficial results as of 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday with 99.06 percent of election returns, Domagoso has garnered 354,327 votes while Estrada got 208,561.

Moreno previously served as vice mayor to Erap from 2013 to 2016. He joined but lost the senatorial race in 2016.

With Erap’s loss came the failed mayoral bid of his granddaughter Janella Ejercito Estrada in San Juan City.

Janella, daughter of senatorial aspirant Jinggoy Estrada, who got 24,813 votes was beaten by former vice mayor Francis Zamora who garnered 35,060 votes.

Zamora’s victory ended the Ejercito-Estrada clan’s nearly 50-year reign in the city. The Estrada clan took hold of San Juan City since 1969 when then popular actor Estrada won as mayor. He was succeeded by his sons Jinggoy and JV Ejercito then JV’s mother Guia Gomez to whom Zamora narrowly lost his bid for mayor in 2016.

The Zamoras and Estradas were family friends for 30 years until Francis and Guia both ran in the mayoralty race in 2016. Francis claimed he was cheated in the election.

READ: Sotto, Zamora, Moreno topple giants; make history in PH politics

Meanwhile, Erap’s nephew ER Ejercito failed in his bid for governor in Laguna against reelectionist governor Ramil Hernandez.

His other nephew, Gary Estrada Ejercito also lost in Cainta, Rizal’s vice mayoralty race against Ace Servillion.

In the senate race, Erap’s sons Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada are trailing beyond the top 12. JV is currently at 13th spot with 13,866,130 votes while his brother Jinggoy is at 15th with 11,018,985 votes as of 3:50 pm with 99.06 percent of election returns.

End of an era?

Did the May 13 midterm elections signal the end of a political era for the Estrada-Ejercito clan?

According to political analyst, Professor Edmund Tayao, Erap’s defeat could mean that the Manila voters are looking for a new leader who could bring significant changes to the city.

“Erap was considered as some kind of alternative having been a previous president, so many may have thought he would be a better Mayor compared to [Alfredo] Lim but after two terms there was not much change that happened,” Tayao told UNTV News and Rescue in an interview.

Tayao also believes that the previous rift between JV and Jinggoy have damaged their chances of winning in Senate race.

“Ang naka-contribute pa dito yung masyadong negative campaign, below the belt yung ginawa niya against his own brother, that boomeranged on him,” he said in reference to the half-brothers’ disagreements in the past.

“So, instead of maintaining his supposed advantage over his half-brother, nabaligtad ang pangyayari, mas binoto ng tao si JV Ejercito,” he added.

The two brothers had admitted to a tepid relationship after JV decided to use the Estrada name to boost his political image. Their relationship also turned sour at the height of the 2013 pork barrel scam.

Tayao said that based on his personal assessment of the general election results, Filipino voters seemed to be looking for new names and faces in politics who could deliver positive results.

“What is shown to the general results of the elections which is across the board, nage-experiment ang mga tao, ayaw na nila ng more of the same so they elected a different sort of combination,” he said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Opposition supporters question Comelec over alleged anomalies

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Silent Majority protesting the technical glitches that were encountered during the May 13, 2019 polls Courtesy : FB page of Now You Know

MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of the opposition group on Friday questioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on alleged anomalies in the May 13 midterm elections.

Members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Silent Majority gathered in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City where the Comelec is canvassing votes for the senatorial and party-list elections.

The groups were protesting the technical glitches that were encountered during the polls, such as defective secure digital (SD) cards and vote-counting machines (VCM), as well as the seven-hour delay in transmitting data from Comelec’s transparency server.

Members of said cause-oriented groups, who were chanting “what happened to the midterm elections, Comelec?” repeatedly during their picket, were also demanding the poll body to explain the alleged irregularities that cast doubts on the credibility of the midterm polls.

They also sought to question the poll body for its alleged mishandling and inaction of supposed anomalies observed, including the designation of Nacionalista Party as the minority party, the disenfranchisement of voters, and the “blatant commission” of pre-campaign and campaign violations of some candidates such as electioneering and vote-buying.

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Malacañang expects Go, Bato, Tolentino to be independent as senators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

(L-R) Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.

Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.

These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.

Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.

Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.

 “It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.

“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.

Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.

“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.

Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Guanzon questions NPO on ‘subcontracted’ printing of voter info sheet

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday questioned the National Printing Office (NPO) on its alleged subcontracting of the printing of the voter’s information sheet for the 2019 midterm polls.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they are seeking clarification from the NPO following the discovery of some errors in the printed information sheet just days before the elections.

“Dahil government to government eh walang bidding, tapos nalaman ko at sagutin nila ako kung totoo. Tanungin niyo sila, pina-subcontract ba nila sa Holy Family Printing Press ang voter information sheet namin?” Guanzon said at a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race on Wednesday.

She noted that NPO’s alleged subcontracting is against the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA). Under the law, the NPO is mandated to provide printing services to government agencies and instrumentalities.

“Kaya nga sila ang pinili namin para wala na kaming bidding,” she said.

The poll official said the errors contained in the printed voter information sheets could have confused voters and resulted in a failure of elections.

“Mabuti na lang naagapan and the Comelec en banc ordered na huwag i-distribute ‘yung voter information sheets,” she said.

Guanzon added that the NPO should clarify the issue because they may be held liable for it.

“NPO should be asked because they are accountable for this. Siningil nila kami ng P4.00 per voter information sheet na napakaliit ng print,” she said.

“Kung totoo iyan, and some directors answer my question, Holy Family Printing ang nag-deliver sa kanila at mali-mali,” she added.

The NPO has yet to issue any comment on the matter as of posting time. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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