Zamora gets Duterte’s backing, takes swipe at rival’s father

Zamora gets Duterte’s backing, takes swipe at rival’s father

Former San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, who is making a second bid for the city’s highest post against former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s daughter, Janella Ejercito, has netted a “game-changing” endorsement from President Rodrigo Duterte.

Zamora told the Inquirer on Tuesday that he hoped the endorsement would carry him over the finish line in his attempt to break the Ejercito-Estrada clan’s 50-year hold on San Juan.

He nearly clinched the mayorship in 2016, losing to Mayor Guia Gomez by a little over 1,000 votes.

“Being endorsed by the President is a big thing. It means he sees something in [me],” Zamora said. Mr. Duterte gave him his formal support at a PDP-Laban proclamation rally in Biñan, Laguna province, on Saturday.

According to Zamora, he believed the President saw him as a candidate who would push anticorruption measures.

It was an apparent swipe at Estrada, who also served as San Juan mayor from 1992 to 2001 but was recently dropped from the President’s Senate slate.

“I’ve never been involved in plunder and graft,” Zamora stressed, adding: “Contrary to Jinggoy, who is just out on bail for that exact crime.”

As secretary general of the local PDP-Laban, Zamora’s backing from the President, the national party chair, came as no surprise. But the formal endorsement could still prove useful in a city where the President won by a landslide in 2016.

Even though Gomez eked out a razor-thin win that same year, the candidate she backed, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, placed a distant third in San Juan with 9,061 votes, compared to the President’s 25,922.

It remains to be seen, however, how involved the President will be in Zamora’s campaign, or whether the President’s popularity can move supporters into backing the former vice mayor.

Janella, the incumbent vice mayor, is running under the banner of the family’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. Before joining PDP-Laban in 2018, Zamora was with the Nacionalista Party.

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