Former Senator and President Estrada was born on April 19, 1937 in Tondo, Manila to Emilio Ejercito and Maria Marcelo.
He studied at the Ateneo de Manila University and at the Mapua Institute of Technology. He holds Doctor of Humanities from the University of Pangasinan.
He became a movie actor in his early twenties and established himself as a living legend in local filmdom.
He first entered politics in 1967 when he was elected Mayor of the Municipality of San Juan and served up to 1986. He was recognized as Outstanding Mayor and Foremost Nationalist by the Inter-Provincial Information Service in 1971 and hailed Most Outstanding Metro Manila Mayor by the Philippines Princetone Poll in 1972.
He was elected Senator from 1987 up to 1992 and as a lawmaker, he was appointed Chairman of the committees on Cultural, Rural Development, and Public Works. He was also Vice Chairman of the Committees on Health, Natural Resources and Urban Planning. He was credited with the passage of some major pieces of legislation, the bills on irrigation projects and protection and propagation of carabaos,among others. In 1989, he was cited by the Philippine Free Press as one of the “Three Outstanding Senators of the Year”.
In 1992, he was elected Vice President of the Philippines and concurrently served as Chairman of the Presidential Anti –Crime Commission (PACC). The latter lost operational control over its task forces with the issuances of Executive Order no. 221 in January 1995. He resigned as PACC Chairman in 1997.
On May 1998, he was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines and on February 2002, he was overthrowned by EDSA II Revolution which was triggered by the impeachment case filed against him.
He is married to Dra. Loi Ejercito Estrada with whom he has three children.