The unexpected fall of the Estrada Empire
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

It was complete devastation. The entire Estrada Clan was politically massacred. Erap lost in Manila along with his daughter (with Laarni) Jerika. Jinggoy and JV lost their senatorial bids. Janella, daughter of Jinggoy, lost to Francis Zamora in San Juan. E.R. Ejercito (son of George Estregan), Erap's nephew, lost in Laguna. Gary Estrada, E.R's half-brother, lost in Cainta. All are dead politically, and there is no sign of any possible resurrection.

The little, rich, and strategically-located kingdom of San Juan, for the last 50 years or so, has been under the exclusive domain of one powerful and influential man, Joseph Ejercito Estrada. During the last election the kingdom fell. The once-formidable and seemingly invincible Estrada Empire was conquered by a young man, Francis Zamora who, like David of the Old Testament, with just one shot from a sling, hit and slew Goliath, who is none other than Erap, the great, now the once great. In the neighboring and bigger empire in Manila, Erap himself was slain by his former underling, Isko Moreno, who used to be a garbage boy from Tondo. How could all such unthinkable things happen in so swift a time?

Until now, the whole Estrada Clan is shocked, bewildered, and deeply saddened. Where did they go wrong? What happened to their loyal followers? San Juan had Joseph himself as mayor for many, many terms, before the EDSA Revolution, when term limits were still unknown and unwritten in our law books. No one could defeat him, no one would ever run against him. When Erap went to the Senate, he installed his favored son, “the Estradang tunay” Jinggoy, who was elected and re-elected mayor of San Juan until terms limits stopped him, and pushed him upward to the Senate too. That was when Papa Joseph himself became president. It was entirely a family affair.

Then the half-brother of Jinggoy, “the good and the brighter one” JV, took over as king of San Juan. When term limits prevented JV, he too had to go the Senate, and her mother, Guia Gomez, became the city mayor, to the consternation of Jinggoy. The “Estradang tunay” resented Guia’s intrusion into the legitimate family turf, for Jinggoy was deeply loyal to his mother, Dra. Loi, also a former senator of the republic, courtesy of King Joseph Estrada's unstoppable popularity. Then when Guia could not run again, the family committed the serious “faux pas” by fielding a young and untested neophyte, Janella, the favorite daughter of Jinggoy. This was the proximate cause of their debacle.

Janella is too fresh and too raw compared to former vice mayor Francis Zamora, the favored son of Ronaldo Zamora who, by the way, was Erap's executive secretary when King Joseph was lording it over in Malacañan Palace. Ronie Zamora was a Bar topnotcher, a graduate of UP, and an expert in political and other laws. He was brilliant while Joseph Estrada was famous. The Zamoras were mere subalterns to the Estradas, but the Zamoras waited too long and it did not seem that the Estradas would ever hand over the reins of City Hall in San Juan to Ronnie or Francis. Thus, Francis found the perfect time to attack the kingdom while Erap was busy defending his new empire in Manila, and both Jinggoy and JV were struggling to regain their senatorial thrones.

The rest is history. The entire Estrada Clan was completely demolished. The kingdom was devastated. It would take a miracle to rebuild that empire that was suddenly and unexpectedly lost. Indeed, I now believe in “walang forever.”

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