Showbiz action star and longtime public servant Jinggoy Estrada is never at a loss for words. Quick as a whip, and usually with the trademark humor of his beloved father, former President Joseph Estrada had to pause for a bit before answering The T-Zone's question on Zoom the other night.
“What has the Senate and Filipino people been missing out on since you haven't been part of the upper chamber through the years?”
“Mmmmmm…,” he came back to, chuckling with amusement, “ang hirap naman maging self serving sa tanong na 'yan!”
Always in a good mood when speaking to this select group of longtime entertainment scribes, Sen. Jinggoy nonetheless knows he has to tread their questions carefully before saying anything. Because more often than not, these seemingly straightforward and playful questions lead to follow-ups that pry alleged controversies within their famous showbiz/political clan.
“I think it's much better to say what I've missed being in the Senate and serving the people, kesa kung ano na naman ang masabi sa akin di'ba,” he chuckled again. “And that's basically the investigations we hold in aid of legislation and ultimately find justice for the wrongly accused and wrongfully-treated.”
Aware there are so many candidates running for the “Magic 12” come May 9, Jinggoy — the former three-term mayor of San Juan City (1992 to 2001) who garnered the second most number of votes when he first ran for the Senate in 2004 through to 2016 — is banking on his steadfast performance in the 13th and 17th Congresses to see him through this tight race.
Indeed, the legislator best known for authoring the Kasambahay Law among other landmark bills is humbled to be consistently within the Top 10 of senatorial surveys since election season began.
Thought to have lost his bid for a comeback in 2019 because of the confusion of voters between him and his half-brother JV Ejercito both running for the Senate anew, it seems that the Jinggoy magic — very much akin to his father's legendary charisma — is working wonders again.
Not letting up campaigning all around the country, under UniTeam frontrunners Bongbong Marcos and Sarah Duterte, the former senator, is often asked why run again after an action-packed and drama-laden two decades-plus in government. And not one person can contest his single answer every time.
“Why not? Sa aking pakiwari marami pa akong puwedeng maitulong sa lipunan. Unang-una, naranasan natin itong pandemya at maraming nawalan ng trabaho. That's why advocacy ko rin ang pagbibigay ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan.”
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While Bryan Revilla — the eldest son of actors-turned-politicians Sen. Bong Revilla and Bacoor, Cavite Mayor Lani Mercado — may have only decided to go into politics this year, the 35-year-old is by no means a late bloomer in public service.
Ever since his father first ran and won for Cavite governor in 1994, Bryanhad been exposed to and involved in his big man's responsibilities at the provincial capital to his rise to the august walls of the Senate. In fact, as he got older, Bryan took on the role of chief of staff for his very important dad and even for his mom during her earliest days at the LGU.
Be it hearings both in council and at the Senate, Bryan's been there and is knowledgeable regarding protocols and traditions. Let's say relief operations, comforting people in their time of need, welcoming dignitaries or even leading neighborhood ribbon-cutting ceremonies yes — Bryan's been there and done that.
Not to simplify the work of any elected public official, the point here is that the newest Revilla to run for public office has been more than just a spectator but an actual working volunteer of government for a long while now.
Never one to make a big deal out of what he does for family or community, Bryan admitted in a face-to-face interview that deep inside, he also dreamt of becoming a politician like his parents, siblings and, of course, not to forget his grandfather, legendary action star and senator Revilla Sr., who is best known as “Hari ng Agimat” or “King of Amulets” in Philippine Cinema.
Quite interestingly, though, Bryan isn't running for a post in Cavite. Instead, he is the first representative of a revived party-list fittingly called Agimat. The group hopes to bring to Congress a “Workers, Health and Economic Agenda,” especially at this time when so many Filipinos lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the third generation Revilla, he finds himself only stepping into the political arena today, knowing it was inevitable he would do so. “It's been something I've always been exposed to, so it was never a question of 'do you really want do it?' but 'when is the right time?'”
If anything, the repercussions of the pandemic in everybody's lives told Bryan now was the time to do it.
“It took a lot of prayers, talking to family, like 'is this the time to come in?' And I think I'm already ready for it, and I believe this kind of opportunity it's not given to anybody. Not everybody gets the chance to be able to serve people.”
Asked to talk a little more about the party-list, Bryan replied, “Noon pa man ay tumutulong na sa mga nangangailangan, nasalanta ng bagyo at sakuna ang Agimat ng Masa, sa panguguna ng aking Lolo at senador Ramon Revilla Sr.
“Then it was 2011 na naging formal social organization ang Agtmat ng Masa and it was my father, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., and our family who continued this civic duty. Itinuloy namin ang adbokasiya ng poverty alleviation at livelihood para sa ating mga kababayan.”
Alarmed by overwhelming unemployment statistics since the pandemic began, Bryan knew in his heart Agimat could do so much more for some 7.3 million displaced workers and OFWs from a position of government.”
“I've always been the quiet one among my siblings, but it never meant that I was less passionate than them in helping our countrymen, whether as a civilian and, if God wills it, as a duly elected Congressman in the house of Representatives.”
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