Jose Marcelo Ejercito (born on April 19, 1937), better known as Joseph Ejercito Estrada, or Erap, is a film actor in the Philippines and was the 13th President of the Philippines from June 30, 1998 to January 20, 2001. He was peacefully overthrown by the Second People Power Revolution after his aborted impeachment trial in the Senate, where eleven Philippine senators refused to examine the second envelope of the Jose Velarde bank account that would supposedly prove acts of political corruption. On April 4, 2001, the trial of Estrada began as Ombudsman Aniano Desierto filed before the Sandiganbayan, a Philippine anti-graft court, a PHP 4-billion plunder suit and a minor perjury charge for falsely declaring his assets and illegally using the Jose Velarde alias. On September 12, 2007, he became the first Philippine President to be convicted of a crime after the Sandiganbayan found him guilty of plunder, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua. He was detained in his Tanay, Rizal resthouse but then pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on October 25, 2007.
Joseph Estrada graduated from Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1951. He was expelled from Ateneo de Manila high school for non-academic reasons. Dropping out of college and involvement in a street gang so displeased his family that they forbade him from using his family name. He adopted the surname "Estrada" (Spanish for 'platform') as a last name. As an actor he acquired the nickname "Erap" (from the reversed spelling of pare, Filipino slang for 'pal' or 'buddy'). He played the lead role in more than 100 movies, and was producer of over 70 films. He was the first FAMAS Hall of Fame awardee for Best Actor (1981) and also became a Hall of Fame award-winner as a producer (1983). He often played heroes of the downtrodden classes, which gained him the admiration of a lot of the nation's many unschooled and impoverished citizens. This later proved advantageous to his political career.
He is married to (the former Doctor and first lady-turned-senator) Luisa Pimentel and had three children by her: Jose Ejercito, Jr. (better known as "Jinggoy Estrada"; former Mayor of San Juan turned Senator/married to Precy Vitug), Jackie Ejercito (married to Beaver Lopez), and Jude Ejercito (married to Weng Ocampo). Joseph Estrada met his wife Loi while working as an orderly at the National Center for Mental Health (NMCH) in Mandaluyong City.
He also had a child from an out-of-wedlock relationship, Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito (from socialite Guia Gómez) who also made a name for himself in Philippine politics by following his father's footsteps as the current mayor of San Juan City. Pagsanjan, Laguna Mayor Emilio Ramon Ejercito III, known in Philippine showbiz as George Estregan, Jr. or E.R. Ejercito, is his nephew.
During the 2000 impeachment proceedings, reports of Estrada's numerous out-of-marriage relationships and offspring surfaced in the press.
As an actor with no prior political experience, Estrada ran for mayor of San Juan, a municipality of Metro Manila, in 1968 and ended up losing his bid for mayor. He was only proclaimed mayor in 1969, after winning an electoral protest against Dr. Braulio Sto. Domingo.
When Corazon Aquino assumed the presidency in 1986, all officials of the local government suspected of malfeasance and anomalies were removed and replaced by appointed officers-in-charge. Estrada was then removed from his position as mayor. The following year, he ran and won a seat in the Senate under the Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD). He placed 16th place in the said elections (out of 24 winners).
The 1998 presidential election campaign, like most presidential election campaigns in the Philippines, had hardly anything to do with a contest between political platforms and programs. Estrada’s political strategists and financial backers were aware that a large share of the Philippine electorate, the "masa" (the poor and undereducated masses), were looking for a leadership they could relate to. Estrada’s financial backers designed a campaign strategy that reflected Estrada’s pro-poor image that he had built up throughout his movie career. Central in the campaign was Estrada’s campaign slogan "Erap para sa Mahirap" (Erap for the poor) that succeeded in inspiring the masses with the hope that Estrada would be the president of and for the masses. Estrada's running mate, Edgardo Angara, was defeated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. During the campaign, Estrada's political rivals tried but failed to discredit him while publicizing his womanizing, drinking and gambling. Estrada was inaugurated on June 30, 1998 in the historical town of Malolos in Bulacan province.
Head of State
Head of Government
|Joseph Ejercito Estrada||1998-2001|
|Vice President||Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo||1998-2001|
|Executive Secretary||Ronaldo Zamora||1998-2000|
|Press Secretary||Rodolfo Reyes||1998-1999|
|Presidential Spokesman||Fernando Barican||1998-2001|
|National Economic and Development Authority||Felipe Medalla||1998-2001|
|Agrarian Reform Secretary||Horacio Morales||1998-2001|
|Agriculture Secretary||William Dar||1998-1999|
|Budget and Management Secretary||Benjamin Diokno||1998-2001|
|Education, Culture and Sports Secretary||Bro. Andrew Gonzales||1998-2000|
|Energy Secretary||Mario Tiaoqui||1998-2001|
|Environment and Natural Resources Secretary||Antonio Ceriles||1998-2001|
|Finance Secretary||Edgardo Espiritu||1998-2000|
|Flagship Programs||Robert Aventajado||1998-2001|
|Foreign Affairs Secretary||Domingo Siazon, Jr.||1998-2001|
|Health Secretary||Dr. Felipe Estrella||1998|
|Dr. Alberto G. Romualdez||1998-2001|
|Interior and Local Government Secretary||Ronaldo Puno||1998-1999|
|Justice Secretary||Serafin Cuevas||1998-2000|
|Labor and Employment Secretary||Bienvenido Laguesma||1998-2001|
|National Defense Secretary||Orlando Mercado||1998-2001|
|National Security Adviser||Alexander Aguirre||1998-2001|
|Public Works and Highways Secretary||Gregorio Vigilar||1998-2001|
|Science and Technology Secretary||William Padolina||1998-2001|
|Social Welfare and Development Secretary||Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo||1998-2000|
|Tourism Secretary||Gemma Cruz Araneta||1998-2001|
|Transportation and Communications Secretary||Vicente Rivera, Jr.||1998-2001|
|Trade and Industry Secretary||Jose Pardo||1998|
|Presidential Chief of Staff||Aprodicio Lacquian||1999-2000|
|Presidential Management Staff||Leonora de Jesus||1998-2000|
|Macel Fernandez||December 2000 - January 21, 2001|
|Director General, Philippine National Police||Gen. Roberto Lastimoso||1998-1999|
|Gen. Edmundo L. Larozza (OIC)||1999|
|Gen. Panfilo Lacson||1999-2001|
Major television networks pre-empted their afternoon schedules to bring full coverage of the Impeachment Trial. There were three sets of cameras in the Impeachment Court (normally the Senate Chamber): one from ABS-CBN, one from the GMA Network, and one from NBN (Then, it was PTV, or the People's Television Network. (used as a pool camera).
During the trial, the prosecution (composed of congressmen and private prosecutors) presented witnesses and evidence to the impeachment court regarding Estrada's involvement in illegal gambling, also known as jueteng, and his maintenance of secret bank accounts. However, the president's legal team (composed of a former chief justice, former congressman, former solicitor-general and other lawyers) denied these allegations.
Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson was one of the witnesses who testified against President Estrada. The President and the governor of Ilocos Sur were said to be "partners" in-charge of the operations of illegal gambling in the country. Governor Singson feared that he would be charged and stripped of power (there have been talks about the governor making a deal with the opposition... he was to help incriminate Estrada and he would be compensated for his service), but he was offered immunity by anti-Estrada lawmakers. He was then asked to accuse the President of having committed several illegal acts. He gave personal accounts that may or may not have been biased. Singson's credibility has been questioned several times in the past, and he has been involved in various scandals that have not been resolved up to this day.
On December 11, 2007, Pulse Asia October 20-31 survey result showed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the most corrupt President topping the list with 42% of respondents nationwide. Ferdinand Marcos was 2nd with 35% and Joseph Estrada was 3rd with 16%. Fidel Ramos (5%) and Corazon Aquino (1%). The Arroyo administration was also the most corrupt(Metro Manilans with 56%).
On the evening of January 16, 2001, the impeachment court, whose majority were political allies of Estrada, voted not to open an envelope that was said to contain incriminating evidence against the president. 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. Others noted that the walkout merited a contempt of court which Davide, intentionally or unintentionally, did not enforce.
The afternoon schedule of television networks covering the Impeachment were pre-empted by the prolongation of the day's court session due to the issue of this envelope. The evening telenovelas of networks were pushed back for up to two hours.
That night, anti-Estrada protesters gathered on the historical EDSA highway at EDSA Shrine, not too far away from the site of the 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos. A political turmoil ensued and the clamor for Estrada's resignation became stronger than ever. In the following days, the number of protesters grew to the hundreds of thousands.
On January 19, 2001, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, seeing the political upheaval throughout the country, decided to withdraw its support from the president and transfer its allegiance to the vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On January 20, 2001, the Supreme Court declared that the seat of presidency was vacant. At noon, the Chief Justice swore in the constitutional successor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as President of the Philippines. Estrada and his family were quickly evacuated from the presidential palace.
On January 18, 2008, Joseph Estrada's Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) caused full-page advertisement in Metro Manila newspapers, blaming EDSA 2 of having "inflicted a dent on Philippine democracy". Its featured clippings questioned the constitutionality of the revolution. The published featured clippings were taken from Time, New York Times, Straits Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Asia Times Online, The Economist, and International Herald Tribune. Supreme Court justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma opined that EDSA 2 violated the 1987 Constitution.
On March 13, 2008, Joseph Estrada named Lucio Tan, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Fidel Ramos, Luis Singson, and the Ayala (and Lopez clans who were both involved in water businesses) as co-conspirators of EDSA Revolution of 2001.
Estrada returned to his old home in San Juan. He maintained that he never resigned, implying that Arroyo's government was illegitimate, despite the international community's recognition of Arroyo's succession and the acknowledgment of Arroyo as the new president by all government offices, the military, and the national police.
The new government charged him with plunder and had him arrested in April. Estrada's supporters, particularly those among the poor, marched to the EDSA Shrine demanding Estrada's release and his reinstatement as president, attempting to replicate the success of the previous revolution. On the morning of May 1, the protesters marched straight to the presidential palace. Violence erupted and the government declared a State of Rebellion. Many of Estrada's supporters were arrested, including politicians accused of provoking the violence. The government called out the military and was able to quell the rebellion. The rebellion came to be known as EDSA III.
Estrada was initially detained at the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center in Manila and then transferred to a military facility in Tanay, Rizal, but he was later transferred to a nearby vacation home, virtually in house arrest. He was still facing the charges of plunder and corruption. Under Philippine law, plunder has a maximum penalty of death, though it was unlikely that Estrada would be given that sentence.
On April 2, 2005, the United Opposition movement named Estrada "Chairman Emeritus". The unexpected death of Fernando Poe, Jr., after the election brought with it uncertainty as to the opposition's direction and leadership, yet with Estrada still facing charges and trial some had been left to speculate how much of an influence or support this declaration would create in the formation of an opposition front to the current Presidency, and her Lakas-CMD party.
On September 5, 2007, Leonardo-de Castro, and Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Francisco Villaruz were assigned 2 extra bodyguards per initiative of the Sheriff, after getting threatening messages from an anonymous person. Renato Bocar, executive clerk of court confirmed the “new face" in De Castro’s office who has been “acting like a bodyguard.
On September 7, 2007, the Sandiganbayan's Teresita De Castro announced that the graft court would promulgate the judgment on September 12, 2007 in the 6-year-old plunder trial (October 2001 to June 15, 2007) of ousted President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. The verdict would also inclued his son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada; and lawyer Eduardo Serapio. Court Sheriff Ed Urieta said tight security would include 4,000 police and 2,000 soldiers, and military. Estrada was accused of stealing 4 billion pesos (US$81 million; €62 million) in illegal funds and falsely declaring his assets.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Proclamation 1362 "Declaring Sept. 12, 2007 as a National Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation of our Nation." She lead the nation in praying for peace and reconciliation on the day the Sandiganbayan would announce the judgement of Joseph Estrada. Within a year, Arroyo declared September 12 as National Day of Prayer, Reparation and Consecration for the Nation.
On September 11, 2007, the Supreme Court of the Philippines allowed live television coverage of the promulgation on September 12, 2007 -- granting the petition to the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. The court, however, directed media to install a video camera in the Supreme Court public information personnel office.
Sandiganbayan's Presiding Justice Teresita De Castro and 2 other magistrates unanimously acquitted his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and a lawyer Edward Serapio of plunder charges. The Fallo of the 262-page Decision declared the forfeiture in favor of the government: P542.701 million (bank accounts including interest), P189 million (Jose Velarde accounts including interest) and the Boracay mansion in New Manila, Quezon City.
Only the fallo or dispositive part of 2 judgments were read (resulting to only 15 minutes judicial proceedings).During the reading of the judgment, witnesses said Joseph Estrada cried; his wife, Luisa Ejercito Estrada, Jackie Ejercito Lopez, San Juan Mayor Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, (Estrada's son with Guia Gomez), other family members and mistresses (including, Laarni Enriquez) all wept during the promulgation by the clerk.
Estrada's lawyer Estelito Mendoza stated that Estrada will file a motion for reconsideration (before September 27) of the 262-page Judgment and then appeal the verdict to the High Tribunal. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it will support a presidential pardon for Estrada. Jinggoy Estrada said The people will receive this with moral outrage and disgust. The time of reckoning will come. That time may not be too far now. ``This verdict is intended to legitimize the occupancy of an illegal tenant in Malacanang
Estrada, in Filipino Barong Tagalog (pineapple fibre dress shirt and cream trousers) with his trademark wristband stated that "I thought the role of justice would prevail here but really it's a kangaroo court." President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo stated that the court's decision must be accepted: "We hope and pray that the rule of law will prevail." Estrada's counsel Rene A.V. Saguisag issued the statement:"VICTORS' JUSTICE" - "It's victors' justice. It's ruling class justice. The special division (of the court) was programmed to convict. We never had a chance." Estrada will appeal the verdict and would be under automatic review at the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
Estrada told Agence France-Presse that he was resigned for the latest drama in his presidency: "last and best performance of my life." The prosecution's lead counsel Dennis Villa-Ignacio proudly asserted: "It shows that our judicial system really works.This is the last chance for the state to show that we can do it, that we can charge, prosecute and convict a public official regardless of his stature.
Joseph Estrada rose from obscurity to having been top Filipino film star, then hit the mark, by claiming the Presidency until destiny sent him to jail. He stated to Agence France-Presse "I feel depressed, but it's my style not to show it." Before the release of the fatalistic judgment, he warned that he prevent his fans from making street protests.
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 court permission to attend the hearing, since it ordered the prosecution to file comment before October 11.
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 reclusion 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.
In the aftermath of the verdict, De Castro, Villaruz and Peralta are now at the receiving end of two unsolicited advices from key officials. Senate of the Philippines Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, ex-officio member, Judicial and Bar Council stated that the three Sandiganbayan justices "should have the delicadeza not to accept a promotion to the highest tribunal to dispel any suspicion that they pronounced Mr. Estrada guilty expecting a reward from Palace ... We do not want to see a cloud of suspicion over the appointees to the Supreme Court. They should always be above suspicion.”
On November 5, 2007, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in a privileged speech vowed to block the appointment to the Supreme Court of Sandiganbayan Justices Teresita de Castro and Edilberto Sandoval (who convicted his father — President Joseph Estrada). Jinggoy said that: "Such a promotion would seem like a reward in exchange for the guilty verdict against the deposed President. We are convinced, then and now, that the special court created to exclusively try the case of President Estrada was established precisely to convict him, which is what exactly happened.Also, Joseph Estrada opposed court seizure of his assets, stating that: "These properties are mine. I acquired them way back when I was still a movie actor. Eventually, De Castro made it as the latest Arroyo appointee to the High Court.
On January 10, 2008, Edgardo Urieta, Sandiganbayan chief of the Sheriff and Security Services Office released the 2 page report (based on 13-page Banco de Oro to the Sandiganbayan Special Division) which discovered intact due to the 2001 levy by BIR distraint — P 1.107 billion ($1 = P 41) account of Joseph Estrada: P500 million - 'promissory note and chattel mortgage'; 450 million shares of Waterfront Philippines valued at P 427.5 million; and 300 million shares of Wellex Industries worth P 84 million; cash deposits in a common trust fund investment account of P 95.76 million.