Former Philippine president Joseph Estrada, deposed by the military 11 years ago halfway into his term, yesterday said he wants to become the city mayor of Manila.
After losing by a few million votes to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in his second bid for the presidency in the 2010 election, the still hugely popular ex-movie star says lowering his sights may be the way to go.
“I am thinking about it. Right now the odds are 50-50 that I will run,” he said in a telephone interview on his 75th birthday.
“I am still healthy and I can still serve, there is nothing wrong with that. I started out as a mayor and so I will likely finish my career as a mayor,” he said.
Estrada parlayed his show business fame playing the champion of the downtrodden to enter politics as a town mayor in a Manila suburb in the 1960s.
He was later elected senator and then vice president, before being overwhelmingly elected as the country’s leader in 1998.
His presidency, however, was cut short nearly halfway through his six-year term by a bloodless revolt sparked by allegations of massive corruption.
After a six-year trial during which he was put on house arrest, he was convicted of corruption in 2007, but was quickly pardoned by his successor, Gloria Arroyo.
Throughout his legal troubles and despite his conviction, Estrada retained his massive popularity by playing the role of the underdog that many in the country sympathized with.
Estrada said he no longer entertained thoughts of running again for a national post, but stressed his strong showing in 2010 indicated the public still wanted him to serve.
“Official titles no longer mean anything to me,” Estrada said.