SENATOR JV Ejercito believes, as many do in the Estrada camp, that the current PNOY administration is operating to discredit and destroy his family. Who wouldn’t? Especially in that family as the series of events seem to point that way: first, Senator Jinggoy Estrada feels there has been “selective justice” with the way the pork scam investigations have been conducted; second, cousin ER Ejercito has been disqualified by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from his seat as Laguna governor and; deposed president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is currently facing a disqualification case also in the COMELEC. (As of this posting, even Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue has joined the fray with an investigation – http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/29/13/jinggoy-faces-tax-probe)
There are those like Malacañang’s Ricky Carandang, Edwin Lacierda and Abigail Valte see this as a stretch. Well, myself included. I really can’t see why the Palace and its minions would conspire to overtly target an Ejercito-Estrada clan.
I do, however, tend to subscribe to the Jinggoy’s “selective justice is injustice” theory. Not a conspiracy, mind you, but a series of intertwining interests in bringing him down. Jinggoy, at present, is the obvious and perfect target.
Columnist Jarius Bondoc has said many times in our past inebriated discussions that the Senate is made up of “24 presidential candidates in waiting.” This rings very true since all of them were elected by a national majority. With the next step after two six-year terms (assuming they get reelected) being a higher office of Vice President or President, it isn’t hard to imagine that the thought may be a tad intoxicating.
Jinggoy is one such possible presidential candidate. His numbers are in the top in every election he has participated in (In 2010 he ranked second with some 18.9 million votes). He has a solid mass-based support that has grown over the years, some inherited from his father, and some built up from his own. Solid, nonetheless. He has risen in the ranks in his elected offices and within the Senate itself. And he is senior in his party and in his family.
Jinggoy has been reported to be the vice presidential candidate to the presidential candidacy of current Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2016. But given how fluid the political scene is in the next three years, who knows what will happen to Jinggoy? What I am certain of is that if I were shuffling the cards, I could stack the deck against Jinggoy if only to make sure that either he at least stays in place or is out of the game altogether. And, unfortunately for Jinggoy, the card shuffling chores are passed around the table with each of the players targeting him.
First, the Palace: This comes from Jinggoy’s own privilege speech of “selective justice is injustice’’ where the Commission on Audit (COA), Justice Department, Budget and Management and its communications infrastructure are in a concerted effort to highlight Jinggoy. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Bong Revilla, despite the existence of many more legislators, local government officials and agency and executive branch heads. It could be as payback for the troubles they caused in the last elections for the Liberal Party, Jinggoy and JPE being with UNA and Bong being head of Lakas. It could also be a deflection from the administration’s own involvement with Jenny Napoles and the Pork Barrel Scam which now emerges as the palace conduit to its own messy funds diversions. Or it could simply be that the Palace has run out of It’s-Gloria-Arroyo’s-Fault scenarios for it’s Daang Matuwid that it needs another patsy.
Second, Mar Roxas: Yes, the guy lost his chance when Noynoy stole the limelight from him – and after his much ballyhooed wedding to Korina Sanchez – and he had to set aside presidential ambitions for a while. The most unkindest cut: the come-from-behind win of Binay which, it turns out, came from forces close to Noynoy – the original Coryistas who undertook the Noy-Bi campaign because they felt that Mar was not an original yellow trooper. If I were Mar, I would insist that PNOY owes me big-time, and thus all Palace resources must be mobilized to ensure my 2016 victory AND that means ridding the landscape of my competition NOW.
Third, Jojo Binay: Though they said a Binay-Jinggoy tandem is in the offing, there are many who believe that the Noy-Bi campaign was at the expense of then come backing Erap Estrada (it was Erap-Binay in 2010, right?) So it was Erap supporters plus Pnoy yellow army for the VP win in 2010. If I were Binay, I’d be insecure of this anak ng masa. I’d at least keep Jinggoy in his place, if not eliminate him totally. After all, since 2013 midterm elections there are others who have high standings as possible running mates: Grace Poe, Loren Legarda (you are given three strikes, right?), Chiz Escudero (among the Noy-Bi architects), Bam Aquino, Alan Peter Cayetano…
Fourth, Alan Peter Cayetano: Of all the senators and presidentiables in waiting, Cayetano has the motive (as described above) and opportunity. This has become apparent in his grandstanding ways at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the pork scam. He has consistently insisted that Jinggoy attend the hearings so that he can defend himself, despite Jinggoy’s statement from the start that he did not want his presence to mar the pork probe and that the proper forum for his defense would only be where he is charged which are the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan. Yet, true to form, Cayetano has consistently pounded on Jinggoy – even slyly calling him He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named – in reaction to Jinggoy’s statement that the committee has prematurely condemned him.
Fifth, Chiz Escudero: Like Cayetano, but with a little more finesse. Like that quip on “Senator Sexy” and other short bursts and witticisms from him while the Senate hearings (and media attention) lasts. If I were Chiz, I would not be too obvious… for now. Just know that every opportunity to hurt my competition will go a long way towards 2016. And a pretty potential first lady doesn’t hurt either.
Yes, Jinggoy must be put down by those with common interests, the earlier the better. Others like Bong Revilla and even Bongbong Marcos are not much of targets as they have vulnerabilities that are easier dealt with. Even between these different factions the fight should be more manageable.
But not with Jinggoy, it seems. Not with the Anak ng Masa.