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Joseph Estrada tries comeback as actor and president

November 13, 2009

Joseph Estrada is trying a comeback. After giving up his career as an actor-turned-Volksheld to become president of the Philippines and being removed from office by a popular uprising because of corruption and general ineptness, he not only has a new film coming out, he is also running for president – again! How is that for “Only in the Philippines…”?

Estrada stars once again as the underdog with the iron fist and the golden heart, the movie persona that has made him popular with the masa, the masses, of the Philippines.

Here is a snippet from a profile from the New York Times: “I missed doing this,” the older man, Joseph Estrada — longtime actor and onetime president of the Philippines — said moments after the director cried “Cut!” Mr. Estrada then walked toward the gate of the bus terminal where the movie was being shot and waved at the gawking crowd, which delightedly waved back. He moved closer to his fans, who giggled, hugged and kissed him, some whipping out cellphone cameras. “Don’t forget me, okay? We will take back Malacanang!” he hollered as he clambered up the hood of a jeepney, the ubiquitous Philippine minibus. The crowd responded by chanting his moniker: “Erap! Erap! Erap!” (Malacanang is the presidential palace in Manila. – T.B.)

Not everybody is taken: “It is only in the Philippines where a disgraced president who was ousted by a people’s uprising would dare run for the presidency again, without atoning for his past mistakes and even insisting that he did nothing wrong,” wrote Benjie Oliveros, a political columnist. The whole article is here.

This is the trailer of the film:


PS: For reasons of film historic fairness it should be mentioned that Estrada made some great movies when he was younger, for instance the fantastic, neo-realist Geron Busabos from 1964, where he raged with almost Marlon-Brando-style bravado:

Makes you wonder, why he gave all that away to become just another Filipino trapo (traditional politician)…

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