On stage with the Estrada patriarch, Sara struck a light tone as she shared a story about the two brothers on the campaign trail. She was speaking at a campaign rally in Manila hosted by Estrada on Wednesday, February 27.
Duterte said that in the Malabon City campaign rally on Tuesday, February 26, she had been left onstage with Jinggoy and JV. She was seated between them, but the two left a few chairs between her and them, in an apparent effort to keep the other as far as possible.
Duterte, chairperson and campaign manager of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), asked each of the two brothers to sit nearer to her, to no avail.
"'Sen, sen (Senator, senator) nandito ka na umupo.' Sabi niya, 'Shhh, shhh,'" recalled Duterte. (Senator, senator, sit near me. He said, "Shhh, shhh.")
But Duterte ended her story on a positive, hopeful note – one that likely stems from her own experience in a complicated political family.
"'Di ba lahat naman 'yan nangyayari, lalo na sa Pilipinong pamilya sobrang drama. Pero after everything, blood is always thicker than water," she said, drawing cheers from the audience.
(Isn't it that there's always so much drama, especially in Filipino families? But after everything, blood is always thicker than water.)
Mayor Estrada and Jinggoy were both onstage when Sara shared her story. JV showed up at the gathering a little later.
JV Ejercito now at Manila campaign rally of Hugpong ng Pagbabago. He praises his father Joseph Estrada for being the best mayor of Manila and San Juan. pic.twitter.com/7KmpwLC9BR — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) February 27, 2019
Hurting the other's candidacy?
Earlier that day, Duterte and HNP candidates campaigned in San Juan City, another Estrada bailiwick.
Duterte was asked by reporters if the San Juan event was awkward because of the tension between the two siblings. She again chose to answer in a lighthearted manner.
"Hindi. Nagkukunwari lang sila na hindi sila magkasundo pero alam 'nyo, sa lahat ng pamilya kahit saan, blood is thicker than water kahit kalahati lang 'yan," she said.
(No. They're just pretending not to get along but you know, in all families everywhere, blood is thicker than water, even if they're only half-siblings.)
She also disagreed that the fact that two brothers are running might split votes and lessen the chances of either brother getting in the Senate.
"I don't think so because there are many voters now who look at track record and what a candidate did. And they have different surnames. One is Ejercito, the other is Estrada. Both have done things for the Senate," she said in Filipino.
JV had said on Tuesday that Jinggoy's senatorial bid may have contributed to his dropping out of the winning circle in Pulse Asia's January survey on senatorial preferences.
"It's the confusion of having two brothers running at the same time. That is the challenge I have to address.... Two members of the family running at the same time, it will be a difficult job," he told reporters. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.