Outgoing Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada was “surprised” by the outcome of the capital city’s mayoralty race, but his lawyer George Garcia said Wednesday he had given no instructions to contest the results in the May 13 midterm polls.
Estrada was second to his former Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso, popularly known as Isko Moreno, with former Mayor Alfredo Lim placing third.
This developed as four senatorial candidates of the opposition Otso Diretso conceded defeat in the May 13 mid-term elections as partial unofficial count showed an overwhelming finish by the administration-led coalition.
Political analysts said the downfall in politics of the Estrada-Ejercito clan loomed after the “magic wand” of Estrada failed to spell victory for himself in seeking his third and last term as Manila mayor and for his two sons who both ran for senator, among other defeated members of his own family.
Estrada can now be considered a “political heavyweight of the past” after he was unseated by a wide margin posted by his former vice mayor.
On Tuesday night, the Commission on Elections proclaimed Domagoso, who resigned as Department of Social Welfare and Development undersecretary for his mayoral run, as the 27th elected mayor of Manila at the San Andres Sports Complex.
Domagoso also served as director of the North Luzon Railways Corp. He was Estrada’s vice mayor from 2013 to 2016. He ran for senator in the 2016 elections and placed 15th in the race.
The winning mayor, a former member of the youth-oriented show That’s Entertainment, obtained 357,925 votes against Estrada’s 210,605 or a whopping difference of 147,320 votes.
Coming in as third placer with 138,923 votes was Alfredo Lim, who was also a former Manila mayor and a senator.
Estrada’s sons, returning Senator Jinggoy Estrada, did not make it to the “winning circle” although he consistently belonged to the top 12 senatorial candidates preferred by voters based on various pre-election surveys.
Another son, reelectionist Senator JV Ejercito, has remained in the 13th spot as the votes of another reelectionist, Senator Nancy Binay, continued to widen.
Jinggoy is Estrada’s son with former Senator Loi Estrada while JV is his son with outgoing San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
Bad blood has continued to exist between the two siblings, Jinggoy and JV, whom political observers believed could be one factor to the end of their political career.
JV believes his running along with Jinggoy for the same position had made it difficult for him to enter the Magic 12.
He said this was also the reason why he left the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, the political party founded by his father along with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Enrile lost for senator in the recently concluded elections while Binay lost his attempt in the congressional run in Makati City.
“We spread ourselves too thin. Which was what I was against, that is why I left PMP. I knew this might happen,” said Ejercito.
But JV’s election lawyer George Garcia said there was no reason to concede yet as they await the votes from other regions including the BARMM. “Hopes remain high,” he added.
JV also lamented his non-inclusion in the list of senatorial bets endorsed by the Iglesia ni Cristo as another huge factor for his defeat.
In a text message, JV also admitted that their family had so many battles.
“We were fighting simultaneously—two senatoriables, mayor for Manila, mayor for San Juan, governor of Laguna. So there was no focus on one candidate,” he added.
In his political advertisements on TV and social media, JV’s endorsers have referred to him as the “good one,” but on stage during campaign sorties, Jinggoy jestingly told the crowd that “he is the better one,” and his father is the “best.”
But this year’s elections saw the dream of the “good one, the better one and the best” crumbled.
The Estrada patriach, who initially refused to concede and repeatedly insisted that the results were unbelievable since he was a frontrunner in all election surveys, and his two sons, who both served as senators, were not the only “unlucky ones”
“Why should I concede? I was the target of a project. All surveys from the start showed I was winning, and now all of a sudden Isko? The numbers could have been manipulated,” stressed Estrada.
In a bid to continue their stronghold of San Juan after Gomez’s term expired, Jinggoy’s daughter, incumbent Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito slugged it out with Francis Zamora who dislodged her in the mayoralty race.
The victory of Zamora, son of Rep. Ronnie Zamora, ended the power of the Estrada-Ejercito clan who lorded it over San Juan for 50 years.
The former president and defeated Manila mayor began the family’s reign in San Juan when he won as mayor in 1969.
In Manila, Jerica Ejercito, the former president’s daughter with Laarni Enriquez, lost when she ran for councilor in the city’s first district.
ER Ejercito, son of the late George Estrada, brother of the former president, was toppled in the gubernatorial race in Laguna.
In related developments, members of the Bagatsing political clan on Wednesday asked their followers and residents of Manila to support mayor-elect Moreno who ended the political career of outgoing Mayor Estrada.
“It’s time to unite. It’s time to support Isko,” said Don Bagatsing, the spokesperson of the family.
Bagatsing expressed the belief that Moreno could do a lot to improve the lives of Manileños and help in the development of the city. He said Moreno ran in the right direction and his campaign was perfect.
He added the residents also felt the sincerity of the incoming city chief executive, which was the main reason why they voted for him.
“Mayor Moreno is the youngest mayor of Manila, he is energetic enough to fulfill his duties and responsibilities in the city,” said Bagatsing.
Bagatsing assured that their family was one with Moreno in solving and facing the problems of the city.
“The boxing is ended, time to move on, shake hands and unite for Manila,” he said.
Bagatsing, is the nephew of Estrada’s running-mate vice mayoralty candidate and former 5th district congressman Amado Bagatsing who lost to incumbent Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna.
Lacuna, daughter of former Manila vice mayor Danilo Lacuna, garnered 394,766 votes while Amado got 276,286 votes.
Meanwhile, Amado’s daughter Cristal was reelected to represent the city’s 5th district.
Cristal, who ran under Kabaka party formed by her father, got 65,836 votes as against the 64,748 votes of her rival Ali Atienza, son of former mayor and incumbent Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza.
Another member of the Bagatsing political clan Don Juan “DJ” Bagatsing also won in the race for councilor in the city’s 4th district. He ranked No. 6 in the list of winners with more than 55,800 votes.
The family had promised that their priority was giving free health services and decent jobs to the Manileños, to help them have better lives and promote progress in the city.
The Bagatsing family is supported by four organizations with at least 200,000 strong members.
The late Ramon Delaraga Bagatsing, father of Amado, was the longest-serving mayor of Manila from 1971 to 1986.
At a press conference in the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City, former Quezon representative Erin Tañada also waved the white flag, saying “Yes, we would concede the elections but we will never concede our principles. We will continue our fight.”
Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said he respected the will of the people.
“This is not the result we hoped for, but it is the reality that we have to face with the optimism that we will have better days. In the words of Gabriel Gracia Marquez, ‘There’s always something left to love,’” he said.