For wanting to have it all, Erap lost everything

Former President Estrada accompanies son, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is out on bail for charges of plunder and graft, for the filing of his certificate of candidacy for senator in the 2019 elections, Oct. 14, 2018. Photo from ABS-CBN.


A report by ABS-CBN’s Christian Esguerra said former President and former Manila mayor Joseph Estrada cannot understand why he lost the mayoralty race to Isko Moreno, whom he once promised to hand over the reins of the city after one term but later reneged.

Esguerra quoted the 82- year old politician as, “Di ko alam paano nangyari, hanggang ngayon iniisip ko... sobrang bigat,” he said.

It’s a crushing defeat for a former movie actor turned politician, who for a time was winning easily all political contest he entered into: San Juan mayor, senator, vice president and the presidency.

One wonders which is harder for Estrada to take: this election’s defeat or his ouster from the presidency in January 2001 and his imprisonment for plunder for seven years.

Estrada not only survived his ouster and imprisonment but made a remarkable return to politics, placing number two in the 2010 presidential election that was won by Benigno Aquino III who was swept to the presidency by sympathy votes over the death of his mother, the former president Corazon C. Aquino.

Emboldened by his loyalists’ unwavering support, Estrada entered the Manila mayoralty race in 2013, which at the time was shaping up between incumbent mayor Alfredo Lim and the young vice mayor, Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, a former actor who took the surname of his benefactor, German Moreno, for his showbiz name.

Why did Estrada “migrate” to Manila when he was a San Juan boy?In 2013, the re-electionist mayor for San Juan was former actress Guia Gomez, mother of his son Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, who was then running for the first time as senator, having served as San Juan mayor and congressman.

San Juan was Erap’s “kingdom.” His 17 years as mayor saw San Juan transform from a laidback suburban town into a vibrant city by embarking into an infrastructure development building, among them an Agora complex and a modern slaughterhouse. He also established the first municipal high school.

In 1987, Estrada went national with his election as senator. He was succeeded as mayor by Jinggoy, who later also followed his footsteps to the Senate.

The joke about Estrada’s transfer to Manila was his wife, former senator Loi Ejercito, is the queen of Polk street, Estrada’s residence in Greenhills, and Guia has San Juan. Former actress Laarni Enriquez, mother of Estrada’s three children, needed her own “kingdom” and the most feasible was Manila.He bought a Legarda ancestral house in Sta Mesa to qualify for the required one-year residency.

When Estrada declared his candidacy for mayor in 2013, he said it would only be for “one term.” One term is three years. Many believed that was the reason the popular Moreno agreed to slide down to be his vice mayor.

2016 came and Estrada ran again for re-election. No resentment was heard from Moreno who ran for senator but lost under the ticket of Grace Poe. Estrada won by small margin over Lim again.

Under Estrada’s mayorship of Manila, Manileños were complaining about the absence of governance of the country’s capital. In several public functions, Estrada was seen sleeping.

There were talks that his son, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, would be the one to run for Manila mayor. Jinggoy is out on bail for the charges of plunder and graft for allegedly misusing millions of pesos of his Priority Development Assistance Fund.

But Erap ran for re-election and Jinggoy made another bid to return to the Senate much to the dismay of re-electionist JV Ejercito.

JV almost made it, hovering between 13 and 14 in the latest official count followed by Jinggoy.

Had Estrada not allowed the corruption- tainted Jinggoy to run for the Senate, it is safe to say that JV would have been re-elected. It would not have been a total wipeout for Estrada.

Estrada not only lost Manila (his daughter, Jerika, also lost her bid for councilwoman) but also San Juan.Jinggoy’s daughter, Janella, lost to Francis Zamora, ending 50 years of the Estradas’ supremacy in San Juan.

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