REUTERS - Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after an anti-graft court found him guilty of plunder and barred him from holding public office again.
Here are key facts about Joseph Estrada, renowned for his “midnight cabinet” of drinking and gambling buddies while president for 31 months until he was forced to step down by a popular street uprising in January 2001.
- Born on April 19, 1937, Joseph Estrada was a school dropout who made his name as a star of B movies, playing the role of hero of the downtrodden. That translated into mass support in his political career.
- In a movie career that spanned nearly 40 years, Estrada played the lead role in more than 100 films, producing more than half of them. He is best remembered for his last movie, made in 1989 when he was already a senator. He played the role of an activist opposed to U.S. military bases in the Philippines.
- Estrada was mayor of San Juan, a small town in the Manila region, for nearly 20 years before he won a seat in the Philippine Senate in 1988. He was elected vice president in 1992.
- In the 1998 presidential election, Estrada won a landslide, riding on the slogan “Erap para sa mahirap” (Erap for the poor). Estrada was popularly known as “Erap”, the reversed spelling of “pare”, Filipino slang for friend or buddy.
- Two years into office, Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives after he was accused of illegally amassing around $85 million, stealing from state coffers and taking bribes from illegal gambling operators.
- Estrada’s impeachment trial in the Philippine Senate was cut short when a group of opposition lawmakers walked out of the hearing, protesting against a vote by senators sitting as judges. It fueled a three-day street protest that forced him to step down on January 20, 2001.
- Since 2001, Estrada has been under house arrest at his villa about 50 kms (30 miles) east of the capital, while undergoing trial at the anti-corruption court.