Erap selling Polk St. house

By Marichu Villanueva, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 25 2010 11:25 AM | Updated as of Nov 25 2010 07:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – For sale: No.1 Polk St., North Greenhills, San Juan City.

Former President Joseph Estrada has put up for sale his family residence to raise capital for his real estate business, which he started during his heyday as an actor.

Estrada yesterday disclosed to The STAR that he has placed the mansion, which is mortgaged with Metrobank and could reportedly easily fetch P200 million in the real estate market, up for sale.

The 3,000-square meter property includes the main house, a clubhouse, and a garage.

He said he has expanded his previous business of buying, building, and selling houses and lots and is now into building condominiums.

He disclosed his company is constructing a 28-storey condominium on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City.

The building is called Emar Suites, representing the first letters of the names of his late parents, Emilio and Mary Ejercito. Estrada partnered with his former Ateneo high school classmate Tony Evangelista in the revival of his real estate ventures.

Despite his successful return to show business last year, he said his finances are still “depleted.”

He earned P2 million last year from making the comedy film “Ang Tanging Pamilya” with comedienne Ai-Ai de las Alas under ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema Productions.

“I donated that P2 million to Bantay-Bata. So I did not earn from it,” he said.

“Detained for six years and six months, I have not earned money. And besides, I also lost so much money in the last elections,” he added.

The 73-year-old Estrada, who earlier claimed to be retired from politics and show business, lost his bid for a second chance at the presidency in the elections last May. He lost to President Aquino by five million votes.

After Estrada’s ouster from office and the takeover of his successor, then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Estradas returned to their Polk Street residence. He stayed there until he was charged with plunder in April of the same year and detained without bail while undergoing trial at the Sandiganbayan.

Arroyo granted him executive pardon after his conviction in September 2007.

Estrada fiercely defended ownership of the mansion, saying he acquired it in the 1970’s out of his earnings as an actor, even before he was elected mayor of San Juan.

Aside from his Polk Street residence, he also owns several properties, including the 16-hectare rest house in Tanay, Rizal where he spent his last two years of detention.

These properties were likewise not sequestered by the government, having been acquired by Estrada before he entered politics.

He recalled how the prosecution failed to pin him down as the owner of the so-called Boracay mansion in New Manila, Quezon City.

“I told them (prosecution) that Boracay mansion is not mine and if they want it, they can have it,” Estrada said.

He insisted the Boracay mansion is owned by his estranged friend businessman Jaime Dichaves, who he claims also owns the Jose Velarde account, in which he allegedly stashed millions of pesos.

Dichaves fled the country after the 2001 EDSA People Power II. Estrada said he has not spoken to him since.

Dichaves has a standing warrant of arrest against him as a co-accused in the plunder charge against Estrada. He has asked the Sandiganbayan to quash the case against him.