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2019 Philippine midterm polls analysis: The fall of the giants

BY: Jhomel Santos

RADICAL changes can happen when we least expect it, and the 2019 Philippine midterm elections is proof of that.

There have been seismic changes in the local scene as new victors dethroned several prominent families in local politics.

Is it the end for Estrada-Ejercito Political Clan?

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The end of an era may have come for the Estrada-Ejercito political clan. With the result of the 2019 midterm elections, the powerful clan suffered a great fall, both in the local and national posts.

In Manila, the clan’s patriarch, former president and now former Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada was dethroned by vice mayor Franciso “Isko” Moreno Domagoso by a wide margin.

Isko Moreno previously served as vice mayor to Erap from 2013 to 2016. Moreno also ran but lost the senatorial race in 2016. Three years later, Manila residents gave him a landslide victory against Estrada.

Fifty years ago, Estrada, in his glorious years as an action star, took chance into politics. He ran and won as mayor of San Juan in 1969 before he became senator, vice president and then president, where he served for just three years before being chased out of office due to plunder case. After he was pardoned by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo he came back to politics and took hold of Manila.

Estrada was set to his third term as mayor. His downfall seemed to be shared by the rest of his family members competing in the elections.

Jerika Ejercito, the daughter of Erap with former actress Laarni Enriquez, lost also her bid for city councilor in the 4th district of Manila. She landed on the eight spot out of 11 candidates.

With Erap’s defeat came the failed gubernatorial and vice mayoralty posts of his nephews Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito in Laguna and Gary Estrada-Ejercito in Cainta, Rizal, respectively.

ER suffered a heavy defeat to his competitor, reelectionist Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez while Gary was beaten by Ace Servillon in vice mayoralty race.

Even in their home city of San Juan, the clan’s 50-year reign has ended. Janella Ejercito-Estrada, daughter of senatorial aspirant Jinggoy Estrada, was dislodged by former Vice Mayor Francis Zamora.

Had Janella won the local chief executive post she would have been the fifth in the Ejercito clan to hold the position.

Meanwhile, ER’s son John Paul also lost in Pangasinan’s mayorship.

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… votes while his brother Jinggoy Estrada at 15th with.. votes as of..

If the final results confirm the fall of the powerful clan, it would mark the first time since 1969 there will be no Estrada in public office.

The reign of young blood

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Another political dynasty has ended in Pasig City. The long reign of Eusebio clan has ended the 27-year of political rule.

Vico Sotto, now Metro Manila’s millennial mayor, defeated Robert Eusebio in a landslide victory on May 13 midterm elections, breaking the grip of the Eusebio clan in Pasig since 1992. Two years before Sotto was born.

Sotto first served as a councilor of Pasig City’s first district in 2016 where he proved that millennials could take the job of a public official. He was

  • Sotto, now Metro Mania’s millennial mayor, ran a campaign that attempted to defy the country’s political norms. Despite an instantly recognizable surname, he chose instead to focus relentlessly on the issues.
  • His core promise was making government more accountable, floating ideas that seemed grounded in his time working at G-Watch, a government watchdog group. These included a pledge to regularize City Hall employees to “insulate them from politics,” distribute benefits more equitably and enshrine anti-corruption measures into government systems.
  • He topped the councilor race. In his district in 2016 during his first run for public office. His signature achievement as city councilor was the crafting of localized freedom of information bill – the first of its kind to be passed in Metro Manila.

Vico Sotto is the son of entertainment icons Vic Sotto and Conne Reyes. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Political Science and a masters in Public Management.

Is change really coming?

  • These early results at the local level appear to indicate, to a limited degree, a shift in voter preference from the old guard to the new; from old, experience hands to newer and still willing-to-be-further-tested local executives..
  • These results should not be dismissed and swept under the rug. Unlike, national contests, local elections are actually more personal and intimately relevant to the day-to-day concerns of voters – peace and order, garbage, traffic, schools, local roads, among other. The impact of local politics is truly more direct, that’s why the desire for something new is more palpable.
  • Filipino voters seemed to be looking for new names and faces in politics who could deliver positive results.

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