Jerika Ejercito admits to battling with depression after returning from London

Noong nanunungkulan pang Presidente ang kanyang amang si Joseph "Erap" Estrada, inamin ni Jerika Ejercito na nakaramdam siya ng matinding pressure dahil sa mataas na expectations sa kanya bilang presidential daughter. Sabi ni Jerika, "Kasi living away talaga, I don’t see myself as a presidential daughter. Or sometimes, they’d call me a socialite. No, that’s not me. So, iyon yung mahirap—being labeled or being ganyan.”&l


Umamin si Jerika Ejercito na dumaan siya sa matinding depression.

Si Jerika ang panganay sa tatlong anak ni dating Presidente at ngayo’y Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada sa dating aktres na si Laarni Enriquez.

Ang dalawa pang anak ay sina Jake at Jacob.

Nakapanayam ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Jerika sa grand launch ng itinayo nitong foundation, ang I Am The Issue, na naglalayong tumulong sa mga taong may mental health issues.

Ginanap ang launch sa Boracay Hall ng Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, sa Roxas Boulevard, Maynila, noong Biyernes, November 15.



DEPRESSION. Ano ang ginawa ni Jerika upang matulungan ang sarili para umahon sa depression?

Sagot niya, “I [sought] help, I [sought] psychiatric help.”

Ilang taon tumagal ang depression niya?

“You know, it just started kasi when I moved back, e.

“I think I had a very difficult time adjusting, being away for nine years, you know.

“I left when I was sixteen, pagbalik ko, twenty-seven na ako.

“Parang it was very hard for me to adjust, parang reverse culture shock, you know, not having my friends…

“So it was very difficult.

“It started around early 2012, then I seeked help.

“Then, that’s when the foundation started.”

Siyam na taong nanirahan sa London, England, si Jerika.

Saad pa niya, “Iyon na nga, I think it was the moving back, not being able to adjust properly.

“Living nine years of my life in London, my friends, whatever I built, e. It’s difficult.

“Kasi, to me, parang people have different coping mechanisms, e.

“Unfortunately, mine, I had a difficult time adjusting.”

Saang partikular na bagay o sitwasyon siya nahirapang mag-adjust?

“Rules—of my parents,” mabilis na sagot ni Jerika.

Paliwanag niya, “Of course, after being abroad by myself, fiercely independent, then I come back…

“All these rules and restrictions and, you know, being the daughter of my father.

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“You know, because, to me, I’m just Jerika.

“In London, I’m just Jerika, no one’s daughter.

“Pero over here, carrying my name, I have to conform sa mga bagay-bagay!” ang natatawang sabi pa ni Jerika.



ERAP’S DAUGHTER. Ano ang pinakamahirap na parte ng pagiging anak ng isang Joseph "Erap" Estrada?

Sagot ni Jerika, “I think, ano… parang people has… they have their own expectations, you know.”

Expectations bilang presidential daughter noong presidente pa ang ama niya?

“Yeah, but I don’t… Kasi, living away talaga, I don’t see myself as a presidential daughter. Or sometimes, they’d call me a socialite.

“No, that’s not me.

“So, iyon yung mahirap—being labeled or being ganyan.”

Nanungkulan bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas si Erap noong June 30, 1998.

Ngunit pinatalsik siya sa puwesto ng People Power 2 noong January 20, 2001.

Si Erap ang kauna-unahang Presidente ng Pilipinas na na-impeach dahil sa bintang na pagnanakaw ng kaban ng bayan o tinatawag na plunder.

Siya rin ang kauna-unahang dating Presidente ng Pilipinas na nakulong.

Bakit hindi nag-artista si Jerika, gaya ng kanyang mga magulang at iba pang kamag-anak sa showbiz?

“I was studying, e. Nag-aaral ako, e,” sagot niya.

Business ang kursong kinuha ni Jerika sa London.

May nag-alok naman daw dati sa kanya na pasukin ang showbiz.

“But my dad is very strict kasi, e. Basta mag-aral muna.

“And then, pagkatapos ko namang mag-aral, I was already twenty-seven, you know.

“’Coz I did my Master’s and all that stuff, so parang the ship has sailed!” at muling tumawa si Jerika.

Inaamin niyang pumasok sa isip niya dati ang pag-aartista.

“Siyempre, pumasok.

“I mean, every child… I mean, I see my parents, you know, acting, ganyan, so pumasok naman din. I’m not gonna lie.”

Hindi niya naisip gawing prayoridad ang pag-aartista?

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“Hindi. My parents made sure na, ‘No, studies first. Pag natapos ka na, bahala ka na sa buhay mo.’”

Bilang anak ng dating Pangulo, ano ang nararamdaman niya sa mga nangyayari ngayon sa gobyerno?

Sabi ni Jerika, “I wouldn’t say disappointed, kasi it’s ano na lang ‘yan, e, after-effect of mga previous governments pa, e.

“So, you know, you can’t really put the blame on the current government.

“You really can’t, you really can’t.

“I can’t say I’m disappointed.

"We all at some point did this to ourselves, tayo din ang bumoto sa kanila.

“Tayo yung… you know? So, it’s not really… I’m not disappointed.

“I’m more, parang, let’s think about who we want, you know, sa government this time around, really.”

Hiningan din ng PEP ng komento si Jerika tungkol sa pagkakasangkot ng half-brother niyang si Senator Jinggoy Estrada sa isyu ng pork-barrel scam.

“Siyempre, wala! Siyempre wala, ano ba yun?” at tumawa si Jerika.

“I love Kuya Jing, you know, whatever happens, he’s my kuya, you know.

“Ang dami na naming pinagdaanan na unos. Marami na talaga.

“And regardless, malalampasan din namin ‘yan, and we’re still gonna be family.”

Si Senator Jinggoy ang panganay sa tatlong anak ni Erap sa legal nitong asawang si Dr. Loi Ejercito, na naging senadora at First Lady. Ang dalawa pa nilang anak ay sina Jackie Lopez at Jude.

May anak din si Erap sa dating aktres at ngayo’y mayor ng San Juan na si Guia Gomez—ang bagong senador na si JV Ejercito.



OVER AND DONE WITH. Sa ngayon ba’y masasabi ni Jerika na nalampasan na niya totally ang kanyang depression?

Sagot niya, “Yes, I mean, I think it was a phase.

“You know, some people go through depression, and then they get over it.

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“Some people, mas mahabang panahon, you know.

“Kasi nga, like what they said, iba-iba ang dealing or coping mechanisms natin, you know.

“That’s why I want I Am The Issue to be there.

“So, kung may pinagdadaanan ka man, naiintindihan mo, so you can deal with it properly.

“Had I not seeked help, baka kung saan-saan na ako, baka sa iba na siya mag-manifest.”



I AM THE ISSUE FOUNDATION. Ipinaliwanag ni Jerika kung anong tulong ang maibibigay ng I Am The Issue Foundation.

“We would be mediating, may focus group.

“Kasi medyo stigmatized ang pagpunta sa shrink, e.

“What we would like to be is yung middle ground, parang, ‘Okay, if gusto mo lang namang makipag-usap, we’re here.’

“Now, if we feel na you need more help, then tsaka ka ipu-forward sa doctor, which we’re partnering with naman ngayon.”

Paano kung walang pera ang nagpakonsulta?

Sagot ni Jerika, “Well, that’s why it’s a foundation.

“That’s why we’ll get funding para free para sa mga hindi kaya, ganyan.”

Paano kung mayaman naman ang lalapit sa I Am The Issue, magbabayad ba sila dapat?

“Not necessarily, kasi I want it to be a non-profit organization.”

Manggagaling daw sa pondong malilikom ng foundation ni Jerika ang ibabayad sa mga doktor o psychiatrists nila.

“I like it to be parang… hindi siya, walang pinipili—mayaman ka, mahirap ka, pare-parehas. Everyone, every age.

“And I’m not only focusing on depression.

“I’m talking about even bipolar, mga ganyan. Drug addiction, yes, and alcoholism.

“Because these are only manifestations of depression, or maybe something else, you know.”

Pati ba ang mga lalaking hindi makapag-out ng kanilang tunay na sexual preference, o yung mga closet gays, ay puwedeng lumapit sa kanyang foundation?

“Ay, puwede! Ayan, mga ganyan!” bulalas ni Jerika.

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“Kasi, you know, tayong mga Pilipino, we tend to, ‘Hindi, iiinom ko na lang ito. Tara, labas na lang tayo!’

“But, paggising mo, nandun pa rin, e.

“You know, you need someone to process your feelings with. Yung hindi ka idya-judge.

“That’s what I Am The Issue is for.”

Tatanggap din ba sila ng mga artistang may mental or personal issues?

“Of course, of course! With open arms.”

Mayroon ba siyang naiisip na mga artistang posibleng matulungan ng foundation niya?

“Madami, too many to mention!” at natawa si Jerika.

“Sila na lang ang lumapit sa akin. I’m just a phone call away.”

May confidentiality raw ang paglapit sa kanilang foundation.

“Of course, of course. I mean, pinagdaanan ko yun, e.

“I wouldn’t want my business out in the public,” sabi niya.

Para raw sa mga nangangailangan ng tulong at may mga personal issues na pinagdadaanan, maaring bisitahin ang website ng I Am The Issue (iamtheissue.org) at ang Facebook account nilang (facebook/iamtheissuephilippines).

Dagdag pa ni Jerika, “Pero as of now, wala pa po kaming office.

“Meron lang kaming holding room, you know, where we can gather the people.

“Kasi nga, we’re non-profit, and hindi pa kami nakakapag-raise ng funds. Ngayon pa lang kami nag-launch.”


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