By Alito L. Malinao
MANILA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- It may be a diminution of rank but former Philippine President Joseph Estrada is determined to make a political comeback, this time as mayor of Manila, the country's cultural and administrative capital.
On Tuesday, Estrada, along with his vice mayoralty candidate, the incumbent Isko Moreno, filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor at the Commission on Elections, which supervises Philippine elections.
After filing his certificate of candidacy, Estrada, 75, told reporters that he is still capable of serving the people of Manila as he vowed to make Manila a progressive capital city.
"I am still strong, and I will not stop serving the people until the end. Manila needs a change. There is urban decay, people are without jobs, the government is in deficit," Estrada said.
He said that he is running on a platform of urban renewal, jobs and law and order.
The mid-term elections, which will select members of Congress and local officials, will be held on May 13, 2013.
This is the second time that Estrada, now 75, has sought an elective post 12 years after he was toppled from the presidency by a military-backed civilian uprising in 2000 in what is now known as the second EDSA people's rebellion.
"EDSA" is the acronym of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, a long stretch of highway that runs through Metro Manila.
The first EDSA People's Revolt was in February 1986 that ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and installed the late Corazon Aquino, mother of the current President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, as the new president.
Estrada, whose six-year term was cut short after only two years in Malacanang, the seat of the Philippine government, because of the bloodless uprising, also ran for president in 2010 but placed only second to Aquino. In that election, however, he was able to edge out two other candidates, both backed by strong political parties.
Supporters said that Estrada's remarkable performance in the 2010 elections only showed that he still enjoys the support of many Filipinos despite having been unceremoniously thrown out of office.
Estrada's main opponent in the race for Manila mayor is his former ally, incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim, 82.
A grizzled politician and a former policeman, Lim earned the moniker "Dirty Harry" for being tough on criminals, including suspected drug pushers whose houses were spray painted with warnings to mend their ways with threats that they will be eliminated through extra legal means.
After he lost the presidency, Estrada was charged with plunder and was convicted in 2007 but was quickly pardoned by his successor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Ironically, Arroyo now is also facing corruption and election-related charges but is temporarily out on bail.
Estrada, the country's 13th president, served only from l998 to 2001.
Estrada gained popularity as a film actor having played lead roles in over 100 films. After more than 30 years in the movies, Estrada retired and joined politics. He served as mayor for 17 years of the suburban town of San Juan (now a city), then as senator for one term, and later as vice president before becoming president.
As a senator, Estrada is remembered as one of the so-called " Magnificent 12" who voted to terminate the Philippine-United States Military Bases Agreement that led to the withdrawal of U.S. servicemen from the Clark Air Base in Pampanga and the Subic Naval Base in Zambales.
Often referred to as the Silvio Berlusconi of the Philippines, Estrada has a colorful love life which he did not attempt to hide from the public.
Aside from his three children from his legal wife, Dr. Luisa Ejercito, a former senator, he has also a few offspring with other women.
The current Senate president pro tempore, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, is the former president's son with his legal wife. Now Representative J.V. Ejercito of San Juan City, who is running for senator in next year's election, is Estrada's son with his mistress, now San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, a former movie actress.