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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 41: President Joseph Estrada

Born José Marcelo Ejercito, Joseph Ejercito Estrada is a Filipino actor and politician that served as the 13th president of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001.

After deciding not to complete his college studies, Estrada started a career as a film actor in his twenties. His acting career spanned over 30 years, and he starred in over 100 films.

At age 30, Estrada entered politics running for mayor of San Juan (Metro Manila). He lost this election, but ran again two years later and won. Estrada served as the mayor of San Juan from 1969 to 1986. In 1987, he ran and won a seat in the Philippine Senate, and he would hold this office until 1992. Estrada then ran for president later that year, but withdrew due to financial issues. He instead ran for vice president and won. Estrada was vice president under President Fidel Ramos from 1992 to 1998, where he also served as chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.

In 1998, Estrada ran for president and was elected by a wide margin of votes. In 2001, amid allegations of bribery and corruption, he was impeached by the Philippine House of Representatives. The Senate then formed an impeachment court to try the case against Estrada. After the court voted not to present evidence incriminating Estrada, the prosecution panel walked out in protest. This spawned mass protests similar to the 1986 People Power Revolution. After seeing days of political upheaval throughout the country, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Angelo Reyes, withdrew his support from Estrada and got behind Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Estrada subsequently resigned from the presidency.

Despite maintaining his innocence after stepping down, Estrada was tried in 2007 and convicted of plunder of $80 million dollars from the Philippine government. He was later pardoned by President Macapagal-Arroyo. Estrada then ran and won two terms as mayor of Manila, serving from 2013 to 2019.

Estrada was photographed during his presidency in the Barong Tagalog quite often. The majority of photos found in research show him in a barong.

Estrada wears a Barong Tagalog with raya embroidery strips in this presidential portrait

Estrada wears a Barong Tagalog with raya embroidery strips in this presidential portrait

Estrada at his inauguration on June 30, 1998 in a full button down Barong Tagalog.

Estrada at his inauguration on June 30, 1998 in a full button down Barong Tagalog.

Estrada delivers his 100th day report on the nation in a barong in October 8, 1998

Estrada delivers his 100th day report on the nation in a barong on October 8, 1998

Estrada poses for pictures with Girl Scouts. He wears a barong, and this pic is likely from the late 1990’s.

Estrada poses for pictures with Girl Scouts. He wears a barong, and this pic is likely from the late 1990’s.

Estrada gives his second State of the Nation Address in a barong on July 26, 1999

Estrada gives his second State of the Nation Address in a barong on July 26, 1999