Guilty or not, we have enjoyed everything about one of the country's most iconic people—Joseph Estrada. His "action star" tag has truly made him as one of the most-loved figures of the Filipino masses.
Erap, or "pare" spelled backwards, started out as an extra during the 1950s against his family's wishes. He was forced to drop his real surname Ejercito, and changed it to Estrada, because of his father's skeptical attitude towards acting as a profession.
Eleven years after joining showbiz, the bit player rose to fame by playing "Asiong Salonga," a modern day Robin Hood who was born in Tondo, and fought the abusive rich and powerful for the sake of the poor.
His stint as an actor playing heroes to the oppressed classes won him the admiration of the people, particularly the masa. Not only that, his acting skills won him numerous awards. And eventually, his immense popularity worked to his advantage when he made a crossover from showbiz to politics.
He's a successful action star. He's a public servant well-loved by the masa. And he's also a comedian, no pun here. The guy has truly made upbeat contributions to the society as an entertainer. So, for today, let's just set aside our political beliefs and enjoy PEP's top list of everything Erap.
THE FILMS. Erap's portrayal of Asiong Salonga (1961) and Geron Busabos (1964) paved the way to his ultimate stardom and his Bida ng Masa image. Since then, almost all of his films provided nearly identical plots—an ordinary man who rises up and becomes a hero whose mission is to defend those who are inaapi and pinapahirapan.
With over 100 films under his belt, it's small wonder that the accomplished actor and producer became the first recipient of FAMAS Hall of Famer as an actor in 1981, and as a producer in 1983. He is the only person to achieve this double feat, so far. His last movie, "Sa Kuko ng Aguila" (1989), was produced to gain public support for his stand in the RP-US Military Bases Agreement. He was already a senator when he released his comeback film.
THE ERAP TRADEMARK. Who couldhave missed the wristband, the slouch, the voice, especially the hair?
Erap, who is virtually an icon, turned the fantasy of cinema into reality. Even when he served as the President of the Philippines, he lived up to his "action star" look. He continued projecting an image that he's siga, ready to pounce on any possible villain. His wristband, by the way, has dual-purpose: one, to stick to his "action star" look; two, to hide a bad scar, which he supposedly got from a fight when he was younger.
THE QUOTES. Two of the most memorable quotes from the former president were etched in everyone's minds as the "quotes that made and broke him."
"Ang kaibigan, walang iwanan." He addressed this quote to his late kumpadre, Fernando Poe, Jr., when the latter ran for president. Later on, this line was used against him. Reports said that Erap was too literal when he made such statement, "no wonder, he secured government posts for his friends and allies during his term."
"Huwag ninyo akong subukan!" He was full of conviction when he said this line, which was part ofhis inaugural speech. It was an assurance that his term would have no room for palakasan and katiwalian. He was then perceived as a man of valor and integrity. Skeptics gave him the benefit of the doubt. But now, given the verdict of Sandiganbayan, they have a conclusion: Erap delivered some movie lines.
"Walang kumpa-kumpare. Walang kai-kaibigan." Again, this quote was part of his inaugural speech, and it received loud cheers from the audience. A few years later, it was his friends' turn to say this line.
Bobby Tañada, his former Senate buddy (they both advocated the removal of US military bases here in the country), was lead prosecutor for the plunder charges in the impeachment case against Estrada. When asked if his friendship with the former president would affect his way of handling the case, he was quoted as saying, "Walang kumpa-kumpare at kai-kaibigan kung paglilingkod sa bayan ang pinag-uusapan (there are no buddies and friends when service to the people is at stake)."
THE JOKES. Jokes about the former president spread like wildfire, mainly because of his deliberate bad English and knack for saying the funniest of things. This comical (and sometimes witty) side of Erap gave birth to ERAP jokes—which pervaded emails, text messages, and newspaper columns. He also became one of the favorite subjects of humorists and comic strip authors. Below are some personal favorites:
The More Intelligent Candidate
This incident supposedly happened before the "ERAP PRESIDENCY."
Miriam Santiago, has challenged the "least" intelligent presidentiable to a televised debate. To make things interesting, Miriam is said to have told Erap that for every question he won't be able to answer, Erap has to pay Miriam five pesos. But if it's Miriam who fails to answer Erap's question, the former has to give Erap five thousand pesos.
Miriam asks the first question: "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?
"Erap doesn't say a word, reaches for his wallet, pulls out a five-peso bill and hands it to Miriam.
Now, it's his turn. He asks Miriam: "What goes up a hill with three legs?"
After over an hour, she admits defeat and hands Erap five 1,000-peso bills.
Erap says nothing, politely accepts the P5,000, and turns away to go home.
Miriam is a poor sport and demands from Erap, "Well, so what is the answer?"
Without a word, Erap pulls out his wallet and gives Miriam another five pesos...
Erap during the California earthquake
Erap taking a bath nang biglang lumindol. He ran outside the Beverly Hotel without his clothes on.
Guard: Mr. President! I think you forgot something...
Erap: Ay oo! Yung wristband ko!
Q: How do you confuse Erap?
A: Stick him in a round room and tell him to sit in the corner.
Q: Why did the Erap stare at a can of frozen orange juice?
A: Because it said concentrate.
Q: What do you do if Erap throws a pin at you?
A: Run like hell, he's got a grenade in his mouth!
Q: Why did Erap get fired from his job at the M & M's factory?
A: He kept throwing out the Ws.
These jokes became every Pinoy's favorite conversation piece. But instead of halting it, the former president just laughed things off. In the end, they even helped increase Erap's popularity meter.
AFTER THE ERAPTION. The "guilty" verdict smashed the hopes of his family, allies, and supporters. Although Erap's lawyers already filed a motion for reconsideration, the future of the former president is still gloomy.
The only thing that's certain, a big number of his kaibigan and kumpare will never forsake him. And that Eraption jokes will not have its sudden death...I can't wait to read the compilation.