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Joseph Estrada was born Joseph Marcelo Ejercito in the Tondo district of Manila, Philippines, on

April 19, 1937. He was one of 10 children. Estradas father, Emilio Ejercito, was a government
engineer. His mother was named Maria Marcelo. Josephs parents were wealthy landowners.
When Joseph was still very young, his family moved to San Juan, which has since become a part
of metropolitan Manila. Estrada received his primary education at a local Jesuit school called
Ateneo de Manila University. After graduating from Ateneo de Manila, he enrolled in engineering
courses at the Mapa Institute of Technology. To his parents grave disappointment, Estrada
dropped out after three years. He was the only one of his siblings not to receive a college
diploma.
In 1967, Estrada used his popularity with audiences to garner votes in the San Juan mayoral
elections. He served as mayor for 17 years, during which time he focused largely on education
and health care reform.
In 1987 Estrada became a national politician when he took a seat in the Philippine Senate.
During his five-year stint in the Senate, Estrada served as chairman of the Committee on Rural
Development and Committee on Cultural Communities, as well as the vice chair of the
Committee on Health and Committee on Natural Resources and Ecology.
In 1992 Estrada ran for vice president and won. He retained the position for the next six years.
As vice president, Estrada led the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission and was responsible for a
number of high-profile criminal arrests.
Estradas 1998 presidential campaign was centered on this same law-and-order platform.
Despite accusations of electoral fraud, Estrada won the presidency by a landslide, leaving his
closest competitor, Jose de Venecia, in the dust. During Estradas administration, he improved
the countrys tax collection system and worked toward demilitarizing the Philippine government.
On April 25, 2001, Estrada was arrested on charges of plunder that his political adversaries had
filed against him. After a long and humiliating trial, Estrada was imprisoned in Tanay for six years
and was eventually released based on an unconditional pardon in October of 2007.