Senatorial candidate Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito was recently interviewed by ANC host Karen Davila. The host showed him several photos and asked the senatorial candidate to comment on each picture.
Ejercito is married to former beauty contest runner-up Ma. Hyacinth Lotuaco while Aquino's marriage to basketball star James Yap has been annulled. Ejercito and Aquino are both scions of political families: Ejercito’s father is former President Joseph Estrada while Aquino’s mother is the late President Cory Aquino.
The first photo flashed depicted marijuana, to which JV immediately replied, “For recreation, no way. But for therapeutic, yes.”
We heard that you wanted marijuana legalized for medicinal purposes? Davila observed that Ejercito became very popular on social media for this position.
Ejercito explained, “Yes, I’m open to it for as long it will heal the body but no for recreation because no way I’m really quite strict on drugs even if I was during at that time as mayor. No compromise.”
But what if an ailment could be healed by marijuana?
He answered, “It was just a question from one of the bloggers. In case it is needed, are you in favor of legalizing marijuana. What if it would really be used for medicine? So we have to be open about it as long as it would be for the good of the body, then I’m open to it.”
The next photo showed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA), whom Ejercito described as "ruthless.”
Why ruthless? Ejercito commented, “Well, she was ruthless when she was sitting in Malacanang.”
But she pardoned your father?
The son of Erap Estrada pointed out: “She did that for her survival to ease the political tension... He served for six years. He was in detention. In the end, I put it this way, history will be the final judge. My father has always been very forgiving to other people…we can forgive but we don’t forget.”
In addition, Ejercito also cited another incident wherein he and his family members felt the ruthlessness of GMA.
This was the time when his father, former president Erap Estrada, was detained. “We felt it also especially when he was on detention… members of my family, even the hair of my sisters, were inspected… even the food, the hamburgers, they even opened the hamburgers. It was really meant to humiliate us…really to put us down.”
A photo of incumbent President Noynoy Aquino was then showed to Ejercito.
The senatorial candidate described him by saying, “Hardworking. He’s trying his best to improve our economy…I just hope it will also reach our masa. Figures are good…There’s still so much work to be done.”
The fourth photo revealed was Chavit Singson, who became the whilstleblower in the aborted Senate trial against former President Estrada that led to his ouster through Edsa Dos.
Ejercito simply said, “We have made amends already.”
Miss Davila inquired: “You’ve already forgiven Chavit?”
“They’ve [Erap and Chavit] become friends and [have] met together in a lot of occasions…If my father has forgiven them, I am in no position not to," said the son of Erap.
Erap chooses not to harbor any ill feelings?
Ejercito remarked, “Probably it's a reason why he is happy. He’s a jolly person, doesn’t harbor any ill feelings…probably his outlook. He’s 75 but he looks younger.”
Next photo shown was that of his brother, Jinggoy Estrada, and all JV could say was “the hardworking President Pro Temporate.”
Are they friends?
‘I have to admit we’re not very close right now but at least we are not fighting anymore. ..we’ll sacrifice just to make him happy.”
Miss Davila revealed that there is a “running joke in the senate pertaining “sibling rivalry,” clearly insinuating Jinggoy and JV. Ejercito said with a smile: “The reason why we have a lot of differences..it’s the set-up. It’s political and the people around us.”
You are a hard worker, a performer. Are you a threat?
“I would not want that perception. I have to be honest with you. I am not a very ambitious person. If I set an ambition, all my decisions will be based on that.”
How come you say you are not amibitious? You were honored as one of the Ten Young Outstanding Men (TOYM).
Ejercito admitted, “Probably I have goals but I am not overly ambitious.”
Davila then asked Ejercito to expound about the “Kasambahay Bill.”
“He [referring to Jinggoy] was really the one who pushed for it in the chamber but I also happen to be Vice Chair for community labor and I pushed for it,” was Ejercito's answer.
Mrs. Loi Ejercito [Jinggoy’s mom] was the next photo flashed. Ejercito only had nice words for her. “My tita? She’s very gracious and kind-hearted."
Photo number 7 revealed JV’s own mother.
He answered with pride, “The most beautiful mother one can ever ask for. The most beautiful mayor in the Philippines.”
JV added, “My dad used to spoil me a lot when I was young and my mom made sure that I was grounded.”
Next photo revealed his father, Joseph ”Erap” Estrada. “Champion of the Masses” was JV’s quick comment.
Did he ever resent Erap at any point?
“I can’t remember…my father’s life is an open book. Our arrangement is really not normal. I never felt any insecurity at all given the set-up our family had. I never felt insecure. Probably, with all his shortcomings, he always tries to make up for it.”
Patty Betita was the next photo flashed.
Ejercito remarked “My former girlfriend.” JV has a 12-year-old son with Patty. “I see him every week. He is with me from Friday to Sunday. Patti and I became very good friends right after.”
A photo of Kris Aquino was then shown to Ejercito. Davila asked the politician: Did you court her?
JV said “No” but he added “We dated but we were very good friends…We went out a couple of times but I think she’s kinda very strong and she’s really a different character. Probably that’s why people love her, her being candid and very honest.”
The last photo flashed Hyacinth “Cindy” Lotuaco, his wife.
“She’s the love of my life. I ended up with her. She’s the mother of my child whom I love very much.”
Do they fight? “Of course," he admitted with a laugh. Those are challenges for a married couple.”
On his father’s colorful "history" of having multiple families, JV Ejercito remarked, “It’s very hard and very expensive. Time management is already a challenge. It will be tougher when you have so many families to speak...it will really affect you, in your work, in your life.”