PROFILE: Joseph Marcelo “ERAP” Ejercito Estrada
Screen name: Joseph “Erap” Estrada
Date of Birth: April 19, 1937
Place of Birth: Tondo, Manila
Manila address: San Juan, Metro Manila
Civil Status: Married to Luisa Pimentel Estrada, former senator
Children: Jinggoy, Jacqueline and Jude (with Luisa Estrada), Teresita and Joel Eduardo “Jojo” (with Peachy Osorio), Joseph Victor “JV” (with Guia Gomez), and Jerica Ejercito (with Laarni Enriquez)
Ousted as president in 2001 through EDSA 2, former President Joseph Estrada is trying to reclaim the country’s highest elective position. He is running on a pro-poor platform, which is similar to what he promised during his short-lived 2.5-year reign.
After his ouster, Estrada was placed under house arrest for 6 years until he was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a month later.
In 1998, this popular actor who played hero roles in the 60’s and known for his extra-marital affairs, garnered the highest number of votes among the country’s past presidents.
On graft and corruption charges: He said in an interview that he never stole from the government’s coffers. He said, “I never gave in to any temptation. My government is transparent.”
On being pardoned by Pres. Arroyo: “I don’t owe her anything. She’s the one who owes me because she stole the presidency from me.”
On running for President: Before, Joseph Estrada said in an interview that he will unite the opposition and if his efforts are in vain, he will be the one to run for the presidency. He said, “This is the last performance of my life. And I will not fail you. Ito pong laban na ito ang magiging huling laban sa pelikula ng aking buhay. Nguni't ang magiging bida dito ay hindi ako kung hindi ang masang Pilipino.”
- Joseph Estrada finished his primary education in Ateneo de Manila University. He continued his secondary education in the same school but he was dismissed for unruly behavior.
- He pursued an engineering course in MAPUA Institute of Technology but he dropped out and did not finish his studies.
1954, ENTERTAINMENT: Estrada started his acting career with the film Kandelerong Pilak (Silver Candlesticks), a Lamberto Avellana 1954 classic for LVN Pictures. From then on, he starred as a lead actor in more than 100 films, more than half of which he produced himself. In his 33 years in the entertainment industry, he received five Best Actor Awards from Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences and was was placed in the FAMAS Hall of Fame twice—in 1981 and in 1984.
1968-1986, LOCAL POLITICS: Estrada ran for Mayor of San Juan in 1968 but lost to Dr. Braulio Sto. Domingo because of his apparent lack of political experience. After filing an electoral protest against Sto. Domingo, Estrada was proclaimed mayor in 1969. He served for 16 continuous years.
1987, LEGISLATIVE: He won as senator under the party Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) party, placing 16th out of the 24 winners. As senator, he voted to terminate the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, which led to the historic withdrawal of American servicemen from the Clark Air Base in Pampanga and the Subic Naval Base in Zambales.
1992-1998, VICE PRESIDENT: Estrada agreed to be the running mate of business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. under the Nationalist People’s Coalition Party (NPC). He won, while Cojuangco lost to Fidel Ramos. During his stint as vice president, Estrada organized the Citizens Movement for Justice, Economy, Environment and Peace (JEEP) and chaired the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC). He was also a member of the National Security Council.
1998-2001, PRESIDENT: Estrada won the 1998 presidential race by landslide—11 million votes, the biggest number registered for a single candidate in Philippine election history. As president, he declared an “all out war” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao and captured its quarters and other camps. He also ordered the cleansing of the military and the police, and undertook a low-cost national housing program for the poor.
Not even halfway through Estrada’s 6-year term, allegations that Estrada committed plunder and engaged in corruption led to an impeachment trial in the Senate by late-2000. The case focused on allegations that Estrada received some P545 million from jueteng, an illegal numbers game; misappropriated some P130 million collection of tobacco sin taxes; profitted some P189.7 million from the share sale of Bell Corp, a real estate firm owned by his friend, and; owned a P3.2 billion funds in the fictitious Jose Velarde bank account in Equitable-PCI Bank.
When his allies in the Senate voted not to open his bank accounts, protesters trooped to the streets to call for him to step down from his office. Days into the EDSA II people power revolution, and after key cabinet and military officials resigned, he stepped down. The impeachment court did not convene anymore, but the cases were pursued in the anti-graft court. He was arrested in October 2001 and was detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Camp Capinpin in Tanay. He was eventually transferred to his Tanay rest house where he was on house arrest.
2007: After a lengthy trial at the Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court ruled that Estrada was not guilty of perjury, but was guilty of plunder. He was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. All his co-accused were acquitted. A month after, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted him a presidential pardon. He was 70.
- As senator, he sponsored 2 bills that were eventually signed into law:
- RA 7307 or The Preservation of the Carabao in 1992
- RA 6978 or the The Construction of Irrigation Projects in 1991
- Outstanding Mayor and foremost Nationalist by the Inter-Provincial Information Service, 1971
- “Most Outstanding Metro Manila Mayor” by the Philippine Princeton Poll, 1972
- Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in Public Administration by the Philippine Jaycees, 1972
- Cited as one of the Three Outstanding Senators of the Year by the Free Press, 1989
- Conferred the degree of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa by the University of Pangasinan, 1990
- Founder, San Juan Progress Foundation
- Founder, San Juan Police and Fire Trust Fund
- Founder, Friends of Joseph Estrada, which offers free burial assistance for the poor folks of San Juan
- Founder, Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), Inc. to help the struggling Filipino film industry.
- Organized the Citizens Movement for Justice, Economy, Environment and Peace (JEEP) Founder and President of ERAP (Education, Research and Assistance Program) Foundation, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission
–With additional research from Maria Althea Teves, Newsbreak
Sources: www.erap.ph, www.filmacademyphil.org, www.abs-cbnnews.com, www.politicalarena.com, www.gmanews.tv, www.ovp.site50.net, www.wapedia.mobi