JV Ejercito supports anti-dynasty bill, sees 'kanya-kanya' with Jinggoy in Senate

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Senatorial candidate JV Ejercito (L), who is poised for a comeback in the upper chamber with his brother Jinggoy Estrada (R), is against political dynasties.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — Senatorial candidate JV Ejercito, who is poised for a comeback in the upper chamber with his brother, is against political dynasties.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, JV Ejercito revealed that he does not support political dynasties, and he initially had hesitations about running for this year's polls.

Ejercito has so far secured the 10th spot with 15.6 million votes in the partial and unofficial Commission on Elections tally. His half brother Jinggoy Estrada rounded up the so-called "Magic 12" with 14.9 million votes.

"Frankly, I thought about it because I support the anti-dynasty bill. Because I personally believe that with more than 100 million Filipinos, there are a lot of people there who also want to serve, who are also capable," he said.

"But does [he] have the name? Does [he] have the machinery and the means to get themselves elected?" Ejercito noted. "Nag-isip ako. I had to weigh things, sabi ko parang di talagang magandang tingnan na sabay-sabay kami, na ilang pamilya na lang."

[Translation: I thought about it. I had to weigh things and thought it would not really look good if we're all running for the same post, with family members working alongside each other.]

Ejercito reasoned, however, that with the early implementation of the Housing department and the Universal Health Care Law — measures which he previously pushed as senator — he wanted to make sure that they are indeed benefitting the public especially amid the pandemic.

Aside from Ejercito and Estrada, congressman Alan Peter Cayetano is poised to return in the Senate and work with his sister, incumbent senator Pia Cayetano. Former Public Works secretary Mark Villar is also seen to take a seat alongside his mother, Sen. Cynthia Villar.

"At least we are elected by the people. Going back, I still believe there are a lot of people there who are capable and who can serve but dont have the means to get themselves elected," Ejercito added.

But how will Ejercito work with his brother?

"I hope it's gonna be professional as long as it doesn't get in our work, yung personal. Siguro kanya-kanya na lang (We might just work by ourselves)," he said, adding he would now refrain from talking about his brother.

"I have to be honest, it will take time for our relationship to heal because there are a lot of things that happened, especially during this campaign," he added, without divulging further details.

Estrada served two terms as senator from 2004 to 2016, the last two years of which were spent in jail due to plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam. He was released on bail in 2017 after three years in jail, but his plunder case remains pending.

Ejercito, on the other hand, served as a senator from 2013 to 2019. In 2016, he was acquitted of graft charges in connection with the supposed misuse of San Juan calamity funds.

Both brothers lost in the senatorial race in 2019, with Ejercito placing 13th and Estrada landing at the 15th spot.