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Siblings

"Is there no one else?"

 

 

Other than the loss of a son or daughter, probably nothing could hurt a parent more than seeing his children quarrel, especially at a later age.

We often hear of siblings quarreling over inheritance.  Some even bring their claims to the courts of law, especially when the patriarch or matriarch dies intestate, that is, without a last will and testament.

Some quarrel over parents’ properties even when these are still very much alive.  We have seen years ago the children of a wealthy haciendero classmate of former President Marcos fight bitterly, with one faction supported by the widow, herself of the ancien riche, and the other group of siblings bitterly fighting their mother in court.  It was ugly.

Even now, business gossip revolves at what would likely happen when a multi-billionaire taipan dies, as eventually all will.  The billionaire has several children from different mothers, and even now, boardroom rivalries are silenced only by the patriarch’s imperious presence.  But what happens when he goes?

These days, au courant political news is about siblings quarreling against each other for the same elective position.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, better known as JV, former mayor of San Juan, like his older brother and father were, is seeking his first reelection in next year’s mid-term elections.

But his older brother, Jinggoy, who preceded him as mayor of San Juan and also as senator of the realm for two terms, wants to come back to the Senate.

And the battle royale seems set, even beyond their father’s intervention.

Patriarch of the political clan is former president, now Mayor of the City of Manila, Joseph Ejercito Estrada.  Ejercito is his real family name, and Estrada his screen name when he was a movie great who used the better-known screen name as political nom de guerre.

When I chanced upon Mayor Estrada at a recent wedding where he stood as sponsor, I asked if the upcoming sibling rivalry for the Senate was beyond fixing.

In typical Erap humor, he simply said: “Ateneo-La Salle kasi.”  Jinggoy finished at the elite Ateneo; JV from the other elite university, De La Salle, perennial rivals in sports and elsewhere.

The current surveys say Jinggoy has the edge. Not only was he a movie actor himself; he has always used his father’s screen alias, Estrada.

JV, a businessman before getting drawn into politics, has always used the real surname, Ejercito.

But it’s months away before voters troop to the polls, and issues will be thrown against another.  Will the siblings both win, as Erap hopes?  Or will they cancel each other out?

Whatever happens, the telenovela-like rivalry probably rankles in the patriarch’s heart.

* * *

There are many such stories in Philippine politics. Dynasties sunder due to sibling rivalry.

 In Iloilo’s fifth district, the Tupas brothers are at each other’s throats.  One fielded his wife against his brother in the previous election.  The wife lost to the brother.  Now he wants a grudge fight against the brother who is incumbent representative of his father’s long-held district.

Some dynastic siblings hide their dislike of each other by divvying up the territory, as in one holds the governorship, and another the congressional district.  This is what has happened to the Amantes of Agusan del Norte, where former Governor Angel inherited her late father Edelmiro’s congressional district while brother Erlpe inherited her gubernatorial post.  Even if they did not exactly like each other, they wisely swapped positions when term limits caught up with them, preserving the dynasty’s hold.

The Villafuertes of Camarines Sur were in similar fettle. Patriarch Luis and former governor, now congressman LRey fought each other bitterly, and when LRey’s son Migz succeeded him to the gubernatorial position, no less than the patriarch Louie challenged his grandson.

But now, with a common political enemy, Majority Floorleader Nonoy Andaya wanting to run for governor after his term as congressman expires next year, the news from Bicolandia is that the Villafuertes, pere et fil, have patched up to support incumbent Gov. Migz against Andaya, and the battle will be quite interesting, the rivalry bitterly intense.

 * * *

But the hottest news these days is about the Binays of Makati. Incumbent Mayor Abigail Binay Campos who is running for her first reelection to the premier post of the nation’s richest city, with former mayor Jejomar Junior snapping at her heels for turning her back on the “Binay brand” of politics.

The Binay brand, which he defines as hugging the poor constituents, going around in shorts and being “sensitive” to constituent’s needs.  Ate Abby, it is said, is more detached, aloof even.

But she does her homework, and the projects she has launched, the change she has begun, are there for the constituents to appreciate, she counterclaims.

She went to the Comelec offices armed with a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance as UNA official candidate, signed by its chairman and founder, the Binay patriarch himself.

But Jun-jun says he will run against her nonetheless, with the constituents’ clamoring for a return of his Binay brand. The Binay brand which has ruled Makati since Cory Aquino named Jejomar Binay OIC, birthing a dynasty that hopes to rule for generations on end, from patriarch to matriarch to patriarch once more, to Junior, to Ate, and beyond.

That brand has transcended the local when the patriarch ran for vice president in 2010, along with “the” Erap, and graduated into national politics with a tour de force nobody expected until it was too late.

The same brand had to go back to local because another local politician from deep South entered the national scene for the first time with an Intensity 5 gale force in 2016. 

Pere Jojo will run for congress in Makati’s first district, with fils et la souer slugging it out for mayor, unless Jojo and Dra. Elenita, coming back from a pilgrimage in Italy, can invoke heaven’s wrath upon one or the other.

One wonders, like Brad Pitt’s Achilles in the epic movie Troy adopted from Homer’s classic, if the political drama in Makati could possibly ring out with an “Is there no one else?” challenge from anyone else.

In Makati and everywhere else in this benighted land, where politics has become torrens title.

Topics: Joseph Ejercito Estrada , Ferdinand Marcos , Jejomar Binay , Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance , Abigail Binay Campos
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