POSTSCRIPT / November 11, 2012 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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On sibling rivalry, political dynasties

WE’RE STILL AROUND: We ask for the patience of readers who cannot access our most recent Postscripts at the PhilSTAR site. The technical team refining the site’s redesign/upgrade has assured us, however, that all the files are intact and will soon be accessible like before.

Visitors must have noticed already how the new PhilSTAR site has been simplified and made less cluttered. The resulting efficient access and smooth interoperability of the hyperlinks will be fully appreciated when the redesign is completed.

Meantime, readers who want to research on past Postscripts, including columns dating back to the 1990s, can find them quickly at my website (no period or dot at the end). ManilaMail was redesigned, and is now maintained, by my son Peter using a server in New York. When he is on vacation, I do the posting and updating.

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JINGGOY VS JV: As a parent, I commiserate with former President Erap Estrada who had to butt in and smooth out the public spat between his sons, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and San Juan Rep. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito. The tiff had threatened to escalate as media added fuel to it.

Erap, 75, who is running for Manila mayor, said people might start asking how he can manage the affairs of the nation’s capital if he cannot even control his own sons. (Jinggoy is his son with former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Estrada, and JV with former San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez).

Jinggoy, who is older by five years, went to the Ateneo while JV studied at La Salle. (But the two school’s rivalry has nothing to do with their spat. LOL!)

Media reported Jinggoy as assailing his half-brother for allegedly using their differences to generate publicity for his (JV’s) campaign for a Senate seat.

In a recent sortie in Bacolod, JV mentioned — in response to media questions — his supposed rift with Jinggoy, although he pointed out that their relationship was an “open book.”

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OMNIPRESENCE: Such a touchy question is bound to be raised by media looking for elements of conflict. If JV were elected senator in 2013, he would sit in the Senate with his kuya Jinggoy who still has three years left in his term.

At one time, Jinggoy himself was senator along with his senator-mother Loi, who had retired after an uneventful six-year stint in the Senate. Jinggoy is now Senate president pro tempore.

Such omnipresence of members of the same dominant family is a sensitive issue, especially at this time when criticisms against political dynasties have been reverberating throughout the country.

The Constitution is clear in Section 26, Article II, in prohibiting “political dynasties,” except that it left to the Congress to define the term – something the dynasty-dominated legislature has refused to do in the past 25 years.

Critics of dynasties insist on the constitutional command, pointing out the injustice of having a few members of political dynasties cornering key government posts, to the exclusion of more qualified Filipinos who cannot gain access to elective positions because of lack of funds and connections.

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NOT JV’S WORDS: While Jinggoy said he was “very upset and deeply hurt” over his brother’s efforts to generate publicity “at my expense,” JV said he had always regarded his kuya with respect.

JV was quoted as saying: “I don’t hide the fact that I disagree with him on certain, mostly political, issues. However, I’ve never said or done anything that would lead anybody to conclude our relationship is hostile or antagonistic.”

He recalled that in Bacolod, he was just reacting to a speculation of a reporter that he and his brother would always take the same side of any question without regard for what would be to the public interest.

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HOW IT STARTED: In his explanation, JV said: “My brother finds the words ‘sibling rivalry’ objectionable to describe our relationship. That was the reporter’s phrase, not mine. If my answers hurt him, it was not my intention.”

“Neither did I mean to gain political capital at his expense by making our disagreement public,” he stressed.

Their father Erap conceded that the conflict may have started when JV succeeded Jinggoy as San Juan mayor and brought in his own people. Naturally, Jinggoy’s boys resented their replacement.

“I think the intrigue comes from their own men,” the older Estrada said.

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RIVALRY IN SCHOOL: The term “sibling rivalry” is used to refer to the jealousy, competition and even antagonism between brothers and sisters. Parents like me are no stranger to the problem.

My son Peter, mentioned in the beginning of this piece, has a twin brother Paul who is still single. Both are engineers educated at UP Diliman. Now residing the United States, they hold IT-related jobs.

When they were in elementary and high school in La Salle, we – on advice of their teachers – made sure they did not belong to the same section precisely to avoid destructive competition or sibling rivalry.

Textbooks say that an early source of sibling rivalry is the competition for parental attention. This is supposedly carried on till adulthood, even when they start leading separate lives. Thank God, we have not noticed anything like this sort of undercurrent in the family.

Btw, they (and their three sisters also there) were among the victims of hurricane Sandy that hit the US eastern seaboard. Until yesterday, there was still no electricity at Paul’s place. But Peter’s house never lost power since the lines in their neighborhood were underground.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 11, 2012)

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