Estrada returns to filmmaking

Former Philippines president plans come-back

Deposed former Philippines president Joseph Estrada, who was once an action movie star, is returning to the big screen with his first film since he was kicked out of office on corruption charges.

The 72-year-old started filming a laffer Wednesday about a minibus driver trying to deal with his daughter’s plans to marry her Filipino-American boyfriend.

“He really thinks that the poor, who are already suffering, should not be made to cry some more in the movies. He wants to make them happy, even if only briefly,” his spokeswoman Margaux Salcedo told the Associated Press.

Estrada starred in 120 movies in a 26-year acting career and used film as a springboard to get into politics. He was elected president by a record margin in 1998, but was ousted in a bloodless coup after 30 months amid allegations of incompetence and corruption.

Minibus drivers feature strongly in Estrada’s canon. His last movie, “Sa Kuko ng Agila” (In the Eagle’s Claws) — made in 1989 while he was a senator — portrayed him as another minibus driver who opposes U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

Estrada built his political career as a champion of the poor, largely based on his movie roles as an underdog. He rose from town mayor to senator to vice president before taking the presidency.

He stepped down amid massive protests in 2001 after serving only half of his six-year term. He was convicted of “plunder” in September 2007, but was immediately granted a pardon by his successor and political nemesis, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Estrada has said he will consider running for president again next year, and that the constitutional ban on a second term does not apply to him.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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