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Josons of Nueva Ecija leaning toward Villar

February 19, 2010

NUEVA ECIJA, PHILIPPINES—-FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA, WHO WANTS TO RE-TAKE MALACAÑANG, WENT AROUND THIS VOTE-RICH PROVINCE NORTH OF MANILA ON THURSDAY TO THE CHEERS OF STAR-STRUCK VOTERS.
“Sino’ng presidente ang gustong halikan ni Ai-ai de las Alas?” Estrada’s political adviser Ernesto Maceda asked the crowd at the plaza of Muñoz City.
“Si Erap!” the crowd responded.
“Sino’ng presidente ang gustong halikan ni Mommy Dionisia?” he asked again.
“Si Erap!”
This warm welcome, however, doesn’t guarantee that Estrada will win Nueva Ecija by a landslide (or win it at all) like he did in the 1998 presidential race.
The well-entrenched political family that carried him 12 years ago—the Josons—is inclined to support Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Manuel Villar Jr., who also fashions himself as a pro-poor candidate.
Leaning toward Villar
Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson told Newsbreak in a text message that their local party, the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija, has yet to endorse a presidential candidate, but they are leaning toward Villar.
“Familiarity breeds contempt,” he said of Estrada. “So bagong dugo na tayo at baka sakaling may pag-asa [ang] mahihirap (Let’s go for new blood who might really fulfill the hopes of the poor).”
Estrada though, is not bothered by this development, believing that Novo Ecijanos will still vote for him a second time.
His entourage specifically avoided the Josons in their Thursday sorties in Nueva Ecija, a province with 1.187 million registered voters as of March 2009.
The former president said there’s no reason for him to link up with the Josons after former Gov. Tomas Joson, who campaigned for him in 1998, went over to the side of President Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections. Estrada’s best friend, actor Fernando Poe Jr., was running against Arroyo at the time.
“Me and FPJ are like brothers. ’Pag sinaktan mo siya, para mo na rin akong sinaktan (If you hurt him, it’s like hurting me, too),” Estrada said.
Novo Ecijanos in PMP
Estrada’s party mate in the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Erwin Maceda, said they have other Novo Ecijanos who they expect to help court voters for the former president. One of their guest senatorial candidates, JV Bautista of the group Sanlakas, is a native of Cabanatuan City, while Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s chief of staff, Simeon Garcia, is a former representative of the 2nd district of Nueva Ecija.
In the 4th district, PMP is fielding former Jaen Mayor Prospero Antonio Esquivel for congressman, against re-electionist Rodolfo Antonino.
To stress his point that Novo Ecijanos will still likely go for him, Estrada said that in spite of the Josons’ support for Arroyo in 2004, his friend Poe still won in the province by a wide margin. Arroyo got 160, 438 votes, while Poe had 476,220 votes.
What Estrada didn’t mention was that in 2004, Gov. Tomas Joson’s brother, Vice Gov. Eduardo Joson IV, stood by Poe and acted as coordinator of the latter’s Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino.
Estrada didn’t acknowledge either that, in 2004, his senatorial candidates—his son Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ernesto Maceda—asked for the support of Tomas Joson for a share of Nueva Ecija’s vote. (Newsbreak)