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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Filipino Presidents

Joseph E. Estrada
13th President of the Philippines
(born 1937; president 1998 - 2001)
President of the Poor and the Underprivileged

     Joseph "Erap" Estrada was the 13th President of the Philippines, serving from 1998 until 2001. Estrada was the only president to have resigned from office and was the first person in the Post-EDSA era to be elected both to the presidency and vice-presidency.
    Jose Marcelo Ejercito was born on April 19, 1937 in Tondo, the poorest district of Manila. He belonged to an upper middle class family, and was the eighth of 10 children of Emilio Ejercito, a government engineer, and his wife Maria Marcelo.He finished his primary studies at the Ateneo de Manila University. He went to Mapúa Institute of Technology to continue schooling with an engineering course, but dropped out from studies altogether two years later.
     In his twenties, he began a career as a film actor. He adopted the screen name "Joseph Estrada", as his father objected to his chosen career and his decision to quit schooling. He also acquired the nickname "Erap" (a play on the Tagalog word "pare", meaning buddy) from his good friend Fernando Poe, Jr..
     Estrada gained popularity as a film actor, playing the lead role in over 100 films in an acting career spanning 33 years. He leveraged his popularity as an actor to make gains in politics, serving as mayor of San Juan for seventeen years, as Senator for one term, then as Vice President of the Philippines under the administration of President Fidel Ramos.
    He played the lead role of Jesse Mcchesky in more than 100 movies, and was producer of over 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 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.
     In 1974 he founded the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) which helps movie makers 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 Dr. Guillermo De Vega, the first Metro Manila Film Festival in 1975.
     Estrada entered politics in 1967 when he ran for mayor of San Juan, a municipality of Metro Manila and succeeded in only 1969 after winning an electoral protest against Dr. Braulio Sto. Domingo. 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 then Mayor Estrada.
    The following year, he won a seat in the Senate under the Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) placing 16th in the elections (out of 24 winners). As senator, Erap denounced the presence of US military bases in the country. He became chairman of the senate committee on cultural minorities and passed a bill on commission on ancestral domain.
     In 1992, Joseph Estrada ran for vice-president as the running mate of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. under the Nationalist People's Coalition party. Though the latter 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, he was the chairman of President Ramos' Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC). Estrada arrested criminal warlords and kidnapping syndicates. He resigned as chairman of the PACC on 1997. In 1997 Vice-President 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 supporters of President Fidel Ramos.
     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 was the slogan "Erap para sa Mahirap"(Erap for the poor) that inspired the masses in the hope that Estrada would be the President of and for the masses. Estrada's running mate,   Edgardo Angara, was defeated by Gloria Macapacal-Arroyo.
    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. Estrada was inaugurated 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.[12] In 2000 he declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and captured it's 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:
     "One hundred years after Kawit, fifty years after independence, twelve years after EDSA, and seven years after the rejection of foreign bases, it is now the turn of the masses to experience liberation. We stand in the shadow of those who fought to make us free- free from foreign domination, free from domestic tyranny, free from superpower dictation, free from economic backwardness."

      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 from a power grab after former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. allowed the prosecution to walk out of the impeachment court when the Senator Judges voted no in the opening of the second envelope which is not part of the impeachment complaint.
     In 2007, he was sentenced by the special division of the Sandiganbayan to reclusion perpetua for plunder, but was later granted pardon by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
     In 2013, he became the mayor of the city of Manila. 

Source: Wikipedia

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