The Last Will and Testament of Ex-President Joseph Estrada
In an otherwise unremarkable piece from the Philippine Daily Inquirer about radio personality Jo San Diego and her relationship with her mother , a former judge (this is a fluff piece for mother´s day, after all), there are these priceless anecdotes:
(Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ) and Joseph Estrada were, of course, the most bankable stars in Philippine cinema for a period of more than fourty years. Estrada actually became president for a short period before loosing his position due to corruption and his underworld connections, “FPJ” also ran, but died prematurely. I went to his wake in Quezon City, more at another opportunity…)
“The Filipino public came to know Justice San Diego because of her tough decisions on several prominent court cases. In 1963, actors Joseph Estrada and Fernando Poe Jr. accused the “Big 4” crime syndicate of extorting money from movie stars, threatening to destroy their career by disfiguring their faces if they did not pay up.
According to news reports, Estrada and Poe holed up in a safe house stockpiled with ammunition, ready to fight the syndicate. Estrada even made out his last will and testament, copies of which he gave to key police officers and to President Diosdado Macapagal (whose daughter Gloria would one day become the two actors’ political nemesis). The alleged syndicate leader was Luis “Baby” Asistio, a member of a powerful political family in Caloocan City. Influential forces were at play, but San Diego stood by the law and sent the syndicate members to jail.
In 1967, actress Maggie de la Riva bravely pursued a case against her rapists Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda, Edgardo Aquino and Rogelio Canal. San Diego meted out the death penalty. Canal died in prison; the three others died in the electric chair. Their execution in 1972 was given full TV coverage. Jo says her mom never believed in the death penalty. But when she asked the justice why she meted it out to Jose, et al, she replied: “Hija, in Philippine law, rape is punishable by death.”