Estrada gained popularity as a film actor, playing the lead role in over a hundred films in an acting career spanning some three decades, and model, who was started as a fashion and ramp model at the age of 13. He used his popularity as an actor to make gains in politics, serving as Mayor of San Juan from 1969 to 1986, as Senator from 1987 to 1992, then as Vice-President under President Fidel V. Ramos from 1992 to 1998.
Estrada was elected President in 1998 with a wide margin of votes separating him from the other challengers, and was sworn into the presidency on June 30, 1998. In 2000 he declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and captured its headquarters and other camps. However, allegations of corruption spawned an impeachment trial in the Senate, and in 2001 Estrada was ousted by "People Power 2" after the prosecution walked out of the impeachment court when the Senator-Judges voted "no" in the opening of the second envelope.
José Marcelo Ejército Sr. was born at 8:25 pm on April 19, 1937 at Manuguit Maternity Hospital (now known as Amisola Maternity Hospital) in Tondo, an urban district of Manila. His family later moved to the wealthy suburb of San Juan. He belonged to a wealthy family, and was the eighth of ten children of Emilio Ejercito Sr. and his wife, Maria Marcelo. He was expelled during his primary studies at the Ateneo de Manila University and subsequently enrolled in a civil engineering course at the Mapúa Institute of Technology in an effort to please his father and later transferred to Central Colleges of the Philippines but dropped out.
In his twenties, he began a career as a drama actor. He adopted the stage name "Joseph Estrada", as his mother objected to his chosen career and his decision to quit schooling. He also acquired the nickname "Erap" (a play on the Tagalog slang "pare", meaning 'buddy') from his friend, fellow actor Fernando Poe, Jr..
Joseph Estrada is the first President to have previously worked in the entertainment industry, and for being the first to sport any sort of facial hair during his term, specifically his mustaches.
Estrada is married to former First Lady-turned-senator Dr. Luisa "Loi" Pimentel, whom he met while she was working at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City, and has three children with her:Jose "Jinggoy" Ejercito, Jr, Mayor of San Juan (1992–2001); Senator (2004–2016) (married to Precy Vitug)
Jackie Ejercito (formerly married to Beaver Lopez)
Jude Ejercito (married to Rowena Ocampo)
He also has 8 children from several extramarital relationships.
With former actress Peachy Osorio:Joel Eduardo "Jojo" Ejercito
Teresita "Tetchie" Ejercito
With incumbent San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez:Joseph Victor Ejercito; Mayor of San Juan (2001–2010), Representative of San Juan City (2010–2013) and Senator (2013–present). (married to Cindy Lotuaco)
With a former air hostess who is publicly known only by the name "Larena":Jason Ejercito
With former actress Laarni Enriquez:Jerika Ejercito
Juan Emilio "Jake" Ejercito
With former air hostess Joy Melendrez:Joma Ejercito
Several of Ejercito's relatives became prominent figures in politics and showbiz.Jorge Ejercito ("George Estregan"), brother; actor
E.R. Ejercito ("George Estregan Jr."), son of George Estregan and nephew; actor, Mayor of Pagsanjan, Laguna (2001–2010) and Governor of Laguna (2010–2014).
Gary Ejercito ("Gary Estrada"), nephew; actor and board member of Quezon province.
Gherome Ejercito, nephew; basketball player
Estrada played the lead role in more than 100 movies, and produced more than 70 films. He was the first FAMAS Hall of Fame recipient for Best Actor (1981) and also became a Hall of Fame award-winner as a producer (1983). He often played heroes of the lower classes, making him popular among several impoverished citizens. This proved advantageous to his political career.
In 1974 Estrada founded the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), which helps filmmakers through medical reimbursements, hospitalization, surgery and death benefits, livelihood, and alternative income opportunities and housing. Its educational arm, the Mowelfund Film Institute, has produced some of the most skilled and respected producers, filmmakers, writers and performers in both the independent and mainstream sectors of the industry since its inception in 1979. He also founded, together with Guillermo de Vega, the first Metro Manila Film Festival in 1975.
Estrada entered politics in 1967, running for mayor of San Juan, Metro Manila, then a municipality of Rizal, failing and only succeeding in 1969 after winning an electoral protest against Braulio Sto. Domingo. His administration was marked by unequaled accomplishments in infrastructure development. These included the establishment of the first Municipal High School, the Agora complex, a modern slaughterhouse, a sprawling government center with a post office, a mini-park and the paving of 98 percent of the town's roads and alleys.
As mayor, he paid particular attention to the elementary education of children by improving and renovating school buildings, constructing additional school structures, health centers, barangay halls and playgrounds in all the barangays and providing artesian wells to areas with low water supply. He relocated some 1,800 squatter families out of San Juan to Taytay, Rizal, at no cost. He was also the first mayor to computerize assessment of the Real Estate Tax in the Municipal Assessor's Office. When Corazon Aquino assumed the presidency in 1986, all elected officials of the local government were forcibly removed and replaced by appointed officers-in-charge, including Estrada.
The following year, Estrada won a seat in the Senate under the Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) placing 16th in the elections (out of 24 winners). In 1987, he set his sights on a Senate run and handily garnered a seat. He was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Public Works. He was Vice-Chairman of the Committees on Health, Natural Resources and Ecology and Urban Planning.
In the Senate, Estrada was credited with the passage of, among other major pieces of legislation, the bills on irrigation project and the protection and propagation of carabaos, the beast of burden in the rural areas.
As a senator, he was one of the so-called "Magnificent 12" who voted to terminate the RP-US Military Bases Agreement leading to the withdrawal of American servicemen from the Clark Air Base in Pampanga and the Subic Naval Base in Zambales.
In 1989, the Free Press cited him as one of the Three Outstanding Senators of the Year. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa by the Bicol University in April 1997, and the University of Pangasinan in 1990.
In 1992, Joseph Estrada initially ran for president with Vicente Rivera, Jr. as his running mate but he withdrew his bid and instead ran for vice-president as the running mate of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. under the Nationalist People's Coalition. Though Cojuangco lost to former National Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, Estrada won the vice-presidency garnering more votes than his closest opponent, Ramon Mitra, Jr.'s running mate, Marcelo Fernan.
As Vice-President, Estrada was the chairman of President Ramos' Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC). Estrada arrested criminal warlords and kidnapping syndicates. He resigned as chairman in 1997.
In the same year Estrada, together with former President Corazon Aquino, Cardinal Jaime Sin, Senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other political leaders, led an anti-charter change rally brought in an estimated half a million people to Rizal Park against the charter change moves by Ramos and his supporters.
Estrada was the first president to use a special name as his official address name, combining his real family name, Ejercito, with his screen name, thus forming "Joseph Ejercito Estrada". Estrada was inaugurated on June 30, 1998 in the historical town of Malolos in Bulacan province in paying tribute to the cradle of the First Philippine Republic. That afternoon the new president delivered his inaugural address at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta. He assumed office amid the Asian Financial Crisis and with agricultural problems due to poor weather conditions, thereby slowing the economic growth to −0.6% in 1998 from a 5.2% in 1997. The economy recovered by 3.4% in 1999 and 4% in 2000. In 2000 he declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and captured its headquarters and other camps. However, allegations of corruption spawned a railroaded impeachment trial in the Senate courtesy of house speaker Manuel Villar, and in 2001 Estrada was ousted from a coup after the trial was aborted.
In his Inaugural Address, Estrada said:
By the end of Estrada's administration, debt supposedly reached P 2.1 trillion in 1999. Domestic debt supposedly amounted to P 986.7 billion while foreign debt stood at US$52.2 billion. The fiscal deficit had reportedly doubled to more than P 100 billion from a low of P 49 billion in 1998. Despite such setbacks, the GDP by 1999 posted a 3.2 percent growth rate, up from a low of −0.5 percent in 1998. Moreover, domestic investments started to increase from 18.8% of GDP in 1999 to 21.2% of GDP in 2000.
During the Ramos administration a cessation of hostilities agreement was signed between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in July 1997. This was continued by a series of peace talks and negotiations in Estrada administration. The MILF, an Islamic group formed in 1977, seeks to be an independent Islamic State from the Philippines, and, despite the agreements, a sequence of terrorist attacks on the Philippine military and civilians still continued. These included the kidnapping of a foreign priest, namely Father Luciano Benedetti; the destruction by arson of Talayan, Maguindanao's municipal hall; the takeover of the Kauswagan Municipal Hall; the bombing of the Lady of Mediatrix boat at Ozamiz City; and the takeover of the Narciso Ramos Highway. By doing so, they inflicted severe damage on the country's image abroad, and scared much-needed investments away. For this reason, on March 21, 2000, Estrada declared an "all out war" against the MILF. During the war the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked Estrada to negotiate a cease-fire with MILF, but Estrada opposed the idea arguing that a cease-fire would cause more terrorist attacks. For the next three months of the war, Camp Abubakar, headquarters of the MILF, fell along with other 13 major camps and 43 minor camps, and then all of which became under controlled by the government. The MILF leader Hashim Salamat fled to Malaysia. The MILF later declared a Jihad on the government. On July 10 of the same year, the President went to Minadanao and raised the Philippine flag symbolizing victory. After the war the President said, "... will speed up government efforts to bring genuine and lasting peace and development in Mindanao". In the middle of July the president ordered the military to arrest top MILF leaders.
In his state of the nation address, popularly called "SONA", the president highlighted his vision for Mindanao:The first is to restore and maintain peace in Mindanao—because without peace, there can be no development.
The second is to develop Mindanao—because without development, there can be no peace.
The third is to continue seeking peace talks with the MILF within the framework of the Constitution—because a peace agreed upon in good faith is preferable to a peace enforced by force of arms.
And the fourth is to continue with the implementation of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front, or MNLF—because that is our commitment to our countrymen and to the international community.
In addition to this the president said his administration can move with more speed in transforming Mindanao into a progressive economic center. High on the list of priorities was the plight of MILF guerrillas who were tired of fighting and had no camps left to which to report. On October 5, 2000 the first massive surrender of 669 LC-MILF mujahideen led by the renegade vice mayor of Marugong, Lanao del Sur Malupandi Cosandi Sarip and seven other battalion commanders, surrendered to President Estrada at the 4th ID headquarters in Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Bgy. Patag, Cagayan de Oro City. They were followed shortly by a second batch of 855 surrenderees led by Lost command MILF Commander Sayben Ampaso on December 29, 2000.
In October 2000, Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, a close friend of the President, alleged that he had personally given Estrada P400 million as payoff from jueteng, a grassroots-based numbers game, hidden in a bank account known as "Jose Velarde", as well as P180 million from the government price subsidy for the tobacco farmers' marketing cooperative after Estrada ordered a full blown investigation into Chavit Singson's alleged misuse of millions of pesos in public funds. Singson's allegation caused controversy across the nation, which culminated in the House of Representatives' filing of an impeachment case against Estrada on November 13, 2000. House Speaker Manny Villar fast-tracked the impeachment complaint. The impeachment suit was brought to the Senate and an impeachment court was formed, with Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. as presiding officer. Estrada, pleaded "not guilty".
This was the first time the Filipino public witnessed, through radio and television, an elected president stand in trial and face possible impeachment with full media coverage. During the trial, the prosecution presented witnesses and alleged evidences to the impeachment court regarding Estrada's alleged involvement in jueteng. The existence of secret bank accounts which he allegedly uses for receiving payoffs was also brought to the fore.
In the 2004 Global Transparency Report, Estrada made into the list of the World's All-Time Most Corrupt Leaders in the World. He was listed tenth and he was said to have amassed between $78 million to $80 million. Also making it to the list from the Philippines is Ferdinand Marcos,who ended up second in the list as he was said to have embezzled between $5 billion to $10 billion during his 21 years as President from 1965 to 1986.
On the evening of January 16, 2001, the impeachment court voted not to open an envelope that was alleged to contain incriminating evidence against the president simply because it was not part of the impeachment complaint. The final vote was 11–10, in favor of keeping the envelope closed. The prosecution panel (of congressmen and lawyers) walked out of the Impeachment Court in protest of this vote. The 11 senators who voted not to open the envelope are known as the "Craven Eleven." That night, anti-Estrada protesters gathered in front of the EDSA Shrine at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, not too far away from the site of the 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos.
On January 19, 2001, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes, seeing the political upheaval throughout the country, "decided to withdraw his support" from the president and transfer his allegiance to the vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The following day, the Supreme Court declared that the seat of presidency was vacant, saying that Estrada had resigned his post. At noon, the Chief Justice swore in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as president of the Philippines. Before Estrada's departure from Malacañang, he issued the following press release:
Estrada returned to his old home in San Juan. He maintained that he never resigned, implying that Arroyo's government was illegitimate.
The new government created a special court and charged him with plunder and had him arrested in April. Filipino supporters marched to the EDSA Shrine demanding Estrada's release and his reinstatement as president but were dispersed by high-grade teargas and warning shots from automatic rifles. On the morning of May 1, the protesters marched straight to Malacañan Palace. Violence erupted and the government declared a State of Rebellion. Many Filipino protesters were badly injured and arrested, including politicians. The government called out the military and was able to quell the demonstration with teargas and automatic rifles. The bloody uprising came to be known as EDSA III.
Estrada was initially detained at the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City and then transferred to a military facility in Tanay, Rizal, but he was later transferred to a nearby vacation home, virtually in house arrest. Under Philippine law, plunder had a maximum penalty of death, however the death penalty was eventually repealed.
On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan finally gave its decision, finding Estrada not guilty on his perjury case but guilty of plunder "beyond reasonable doubt." He was sentenced to reclusión perpetua. He was thus the first Philippine President who was impeached and then convicted.
On September 26, 2007, Joseph Estrada appealed by filing a 63-page motion for reconsideration of the Sandiganbayan judgment penned by Teresita de Castro (submitting five legal grounds). Estrada alleged that the court erred "when it convicted him by acquitting his alleged co-conspirators."
On October 5, 2007, the Sandiganbayan's Special Division ruled to have set for October 19, oral argument (instead of a defense reply) on Joseph Estrada's motion for reconsideration. Estrada asked for court permission to attend the hearing, since it ordered the prosecution to file comment before October 11.
The Sandiganbayan's special division, on June 27, 2008, ordered Estrada to file comment within 10 days, on the motion of the Ombudsman's Special Prosecutor to re-open the trial of his perjury case regarding 1999 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). The court was also to resolve Banco de Oro's (formerly Equitable PCI Bank), plea that it cannot determine "without hazard to itself" who to turn over to the P1.1 billion Jose Velarde assets due to claims by Wellex Group / William Gatchalian and a Bureau of Internal Revenue stay order.
On October 22, 2007, Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera stated that Joseph Estrada is seeking a "full, free, and unconditional pardon" from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Estrada's lawyer Jose Flaminiano wrote Arroyo: "The time has come to end President Estrada's fight for justice and vindication before the courts. Today [Monday], we filed a withdrawal of his Motion for Reconsideration." Estrada, 70, stressed the "delicate condition" of his mother in asking for pardon.
On October 25, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted executive clemency to Joseph Estrada based on the recommendation by the Department of Justice (DoJ). Acting Executive Secretary and Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye quoted the signed Order: "In view hereof in pursuant of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant Executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusión perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights." Bunye noted that Estrada committed in his application not to seek public office, and he would be free from his Tanay resthouse on October 26, noon. On October 26, 2007, after almost 7 years of detention, Joseph Estrada was finally released after the Sandiganbayan promulgated the historical Resolution.
When Estrada was released he gave a message to the Filipino people that he can once again help the lives of the people, especially the poor. He also stated that he made errors as a public servant but he assured them that, notwithstanding his conviction for it, corruption was not one of them. After the release he had a nationwide tour called "Lakbay Pasasalamat" (Thank you tour) and during those trips he thanked the people for their support and gave them relief goods such as food, medicines and clothing. In politics, he stated that he was convincing leaders of the opposition to have unity, and that failing that, he would run.
Joseph Estrada stated in interviews that he would be willing to run for the opposition in the event that they are unable to unite behind a single candidate. Fr. Joaquin Bernas and Christian Monsod, members of the constitutional commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, stated that the constitution clearly prohibits any elected president from seeking a second term at any point in time. Romulo Macalintal, election counsel of President Arroyo, clarified that the constitutional ban doesn't prevent Estrada from attaining the presidency in the event that he were to be elevated from the vice-presidency, for example. However, Rufus Rodriquez, one of Estrada's lawyers, claims that the former president is within his rights to do so because the prohibition banning re-election only applies to the incumbent president.
On October 22, 2009 former President Joseph Estrada announced that he would run again for president with Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate.
His Senatorial lineup included Francisco Tatad, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Joey de Venecia and Miriam Defensor Santiago. However, he lost to Benigno Aquino III on election.
In 1972 Estrada starred in Blood Compact.
In October 2010, the magazine Foreign Policy included Estrada in its list of five former head of states/governments who did not make "a positive difference in the world", but "faded away into obscurity." Also included in this "Bad Exes" list were Thailand's Thaksin Shinawatra, Spain's Jose Maria Aznar, and Germany's Gerhard Schroder.
Estrada announced in November 2010 that he will be selling his 3,000 square-metre (0.74-acre) home in San Juan, Metro Manila for nearly seven million dollars (300 million Philippine pesos) to "pursue his real estate business." Agence France Presse reported that Estrada "has put up two high-rise residential condominium buildings and plans to build a third soon."
In May 2012, Estrada announced his intention to run for Mayor of Manila in the 2013 elections to continue his political career.
Around noon of May 14, 2013, the day after the conduct of the 2013 Philippine mid-term elections, Estrada and his running-mate and re-electionist Vice Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso were proclaimed mayor-elect and vice mayor-elect, respectively by the City Board of Canvassers for the City of Manila.
San Juan mayoralty electionsEstrada won every mayoralty election in San Juan from 1969 to 1984.
Senatorial election, 1987:Joseph Estrada (GAD) – 10,029,978 (14th, 24 candidates with the highest number of votes win the 24 seats in the Senate)
Vice Presidential election, 1992:Joseph Estrada (PMP) – 6,739,738 (33.00%)
Marcelo Fernan (LDP) – 4,438,494 (21.74%)
Emilio Osmeña (Lakas-NUCD) – 3,362,467 (16.47%)
Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. (PRP) – 2,900,556 (14.20%)
Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) – 2,023,289 (9.91%)
Vicente Magsaysay (KBL) – 699,895 (3.43%)
Eva Estrada-Kalaw (Nacionalista) – 255,730 (1.25%)
Presidential election, 1998:Joseph Estrada (LAMMP) – 10,722,295 (39.86%)
Jose de Venecia (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP) – 4,268,483 (15.87%)
Raul Roco (Aksyon Demokratiko) – 3,720,212 (13.83%)
Emilio Osmeña (PROMDI) – 3,347,631 (12.44%)
Alfredo Lim (Liberal) – 2,344,362 (8.71%)
Renato de Villa (Reporma-LM) – 1,308,352 (4.86%)
Miriam Defensor Santiago (PRP) – 797,206 (2.96%)
Juan Ponce Enrile (Independent) – 343,139 (1.28%)
Santiago Dumlao (Kilusan para sa Pambansang Pagpapanibago) – 32,212 (0.12%)
Manuel Morato (Partido Bansang Marangal) – 18,644 (0.07%)
Presidential election, 2010:Benigno Aquino III (Liberal) – 15,208,678 (42.08%)
Joseph Estrada (PMP) – 9,487,837 (26.25%)
Manny Villar (Nacionalista) – 5,573,835 (15.42%)
Gilbert Teodoro (Lakas Kampi CMD) – 4,095,839 (11.33%)
Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas) – 1,125,878 (3.12%)
Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan-VNP) – 501,727 (1.39%)
Nicanor Perlas (independent) – 54,575 (0.15%)
Jamby Madrigal (independent) – 46,489 (0.13%)
John Carlos de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran) – 44,244 (0.12%)
Manila Mayoralty Elections 2013Joseph Estrada (UNA) – 349,770
Alfredo Lim (LP) – 307,525 (47.33%)
Manila Mayoralty Elections 2016Joseph Estrada (PMP) – 283,149
Alfredo Lim (LP) – 280,464 (47.33%)
Since the beginning of his political career, Estrada has been the butt of many jokes in the Philippines. The majority of the jokes about him center around his limited English vocabulary, while others focus on his corruption scandals. During his presidential campaign in 1998, Estrada authorized the distribution of the joke compilation book ERAPtion: How to Speak English Without Really Trial.1975 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actor for Diligin mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa
1962 FAMAS Best Actor for Markang Rehas
1964 FAMAS Best Actor for Geron Busabos
1965 FAMAS Best Actor for Ang Batang Quiapo
1966 FAMAS Best Actor for Ito ang Pilipino
1969 FAMAS Best Actor for Patria Adorada
1971 Outstanding Mayor and foremost Nationalist by the Inter-Provincial Information Service
1972 One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in Public Administration by the Philippine Jaycees
1981 FAMAS Best Actor for Kumander Alibasbas
1981 FAMAS Hall of Fame
2007 Most Outstanding Citizen of San Juan
2014 GMMSF Box-Office Entertainment Awards Government Service Award