San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito is apparently already getting the ire of an influential member of the Senate, months before the official campaign period can even begin for the 2013 senatorial polls.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada admitted his half-brother's statements over their reported sibling rivalry have made him "very upset and deeply hurt."
Estrada said he never considered his relationship with Ejercito, who is running for Senator under United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), to be characterized by bitter competition.
"I am very upset and deeply hurt over some of the comments made by him and his efforts to generate publicity over a supposed competition or rivalry between us at my expense," Estrada said.
"I believe that the nature of our tepid relationship is perhaps understandable considering our family's circumstances," he explained in a statement.
Estrada is the son of the former president with legal wife, former Senator Luisa "Loi" Estrada while Ejercito is Estrada's son with San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez.
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The Senate official issued the statement after Ejercito said there would be some check-and-balance in the Senate should he be elected in the upcoming May polls.
Ejercito, who ranks the highest among first-time senatorial candidates in recent poll surveys, added he foresees having floor debates against Estrada. He however clarified although he is usually opposing Estrada, he still respects his half-brother for the sake of their father.
Estrada meanwhile admits debates are always likely.
"I admit that we may not agree and even argue on some social and political issues - much like the atmosphere in any deliberative body and the current Philippine Senate where free exchange of ideas is not only welcome but absolutely necessary," Estrada said.
"Again, this does not mean that we have to be at each other's throats at all times though it seems that my brother thinks otherwise," he added.
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The Senate President Pro Tempore urged his half-brother to rise above making "petty and unjust remarks" against him as a senatorial aspirant, whom he said he looks forward to being a colleague in the next Congress.
But Ejercito clarified he did not intend to hurt his "Kuya Jinggoy" with his answers in media interviews, noting he also did not mean to gain political capital at his expense by making our disagreement public.
"I have always regarded my brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, with respect. I don’t hide the fact that I disagree with him on certain, mostly political, issues," Ejercito said.
"However, I’ve never said or done anything that would lead anybody to conclude our relationship is hostile or antagonistic," he added.