Joseph Ejército Estrada, more popularly known as Erap (born José Marcelo Ejército on April 19, 1937), is a popular former film actor in the Philippines and was the 13th President of the Philippines from June 30, 1998 to January 20, 2001. He was peacefully overthrown by the Second People Power Revolution after his aborted impeachment trial in the Senate, where eleven Philippine senators refused to examine the second envelope of the Jose Velarde bank account that would supposedly prove acts of political corruption. On April 4, 2001, the trial of Estrada began as Ombudsman Aniano Desierto filed before the Sandiganbayan, a Philippine anti-graft court, a PHP 4-billion plunder suit and a minor perjury charge for falsely declaring his assets and illegally using the Jose Velarde alias. On September 12, 2007, he became the first Philippine President to be convicted of a crime after the Sandiganbayan found him guilty of plunder, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua.  He is once again detained in his Tanay, Rizal resthouse but his visitors will be strictly admitted.
"And now, a new "event" that will mark the "history" not only in the "Philippines" but in Asia as well.
I have pasted some statements and opinions from a different press and media:
INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
For a man who sought and received a presidential pardon less than two months after being sentenced to prison for corruption, Joseph Estrada, the former Philippine president, has displayed a remarkable lack of contrition.
Critics have bristled at the pardon; another former president, Fidel Ramos, went so far as to call it a "terrible calamity." Estrada, critics say, must be the only Philippine convict to have received a pardon without having shown any sign of remorse or even guilt.
But many Filipinos doubt the country can move on so easily. In particular, some analysts see the pardon as a setback to the campaign against corruption in the Philippines. "Accountability in governance is the biggest casualty," said Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, a political analyst who teaches at the University of the Philippines.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer branded the pardon as "shameful capitulation," remarking that Estrada had never shown remorse or admitted guilt in stealing more than 80 million dollars through insider trading and payoffs from gambling operators.
The influential Makati Business Club, which had earlier called on Arroyo to resign over vote-buying allegations, said in a statement that it was "dismayed" by Estrada's pardon, "especially the haste with which it was done."
The move showed the world that the powerful can escape justice in this country, said the group of businessmen based in the Philippine financial district of Makati.
Arroyo, who had succeeded Estrada, said she was pardoning him as part of a policy to free convicts aged 70 and for "national reconciliation."
It is our hope that Mr. Estrada will commit himself to support that (national unity) process. We would also hope that both those who support and those who oppose that decision will now turn their attention to efforts to unite the nation and putting an end to the divisive politics that make no contribution to promoting the welfare of the people of our country,"
"In the interest of national unity and in consideration of Mr. Estrada’s advanced age, the six and a half years he has served under detention, and the forfeiture of assets that remains in force, President Arroyo honored the request for pardon because she believed it was in the country’s interest," said Bunye.
Mrs. Arroyo’s decision to pardon the former president has meet scathing remarks from the various groups including major news organizations who are against Estrada's freedom.
"Let us put this black chapter in our country’s history behind us and concentrate on what is really important… It is essential for this nation to look forward. We have turned a page in Philippine history," Bunye said.
An online petition calling for resignation of President Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro gained more supporters following the release of ousted president Joseph Estrada on Friday but most Filipinos are divided over the call for a snap election while some are calling for the formation of a transition government.
The bishops and the group called for the resignation of the top four leaders of the country – President Arroyo, Vice-President Noli de Castro, Senate President Manuel Villar and House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. so that a "caretaker government" can be formed that will be led by Puno, fifth in line in the Constitutional succession if the top four officials resign.
"It is the Filipino people's sovereign right to remove or dismantle a regime that has betrayed public trust and turned against the people," said Fr. Rudy Abao of KME.
"Bribery is not an acceptable word even to culprits, so, it is better called ‘gifts.’ And so, in order to feel good and escape the blame of conscience, bribe is also called a ‘gift,’" said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in a statement.
Lagdameo added: "With this sort of thing happening, our country is not only suffering from economic bankruptcy but also moral bankruptcy, disappointingly being shown by our leaders. We are very much concerned with our youth who are looking at our leaders for models in honesty, integrity, and transparency."
"Well the only thing that I can do is to pray to our "Almighty God" that there could be no troubles, violent reactions and uprisings that will lead again to oustings of our leader or leaders in the future. I hope that all Filipinos will unite and reconcile for for the seek of our economy, development and our people