Investigating Estrada

Finalist: National Book Award for Journalism (2000)

THE PHILIPPINE Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) began its research on President Joseph Estrada’s wealth in the first quarter of 2000. The direction of our research was determined by what could be documented. Thus, one track of our investigation focused on the acquisition of real estate and the construction of houses. The second track focused on the formation of corporations by members of President Estrada’s various families.

What we found was a President who accumulated so much money in his first two-and-a-half years in office that he was able to purchase, through dummies and shell companies, over P2 billion worth of real estate for his various wives and children. We also found a pattern of corporate formation by presidential mistresses. We uncovered 66 companies in which Estrada, his wives and children were listed as incorporators or board members.

Fourteen of these companies alone have assets of over P600 million. Yet the President declared a net worth of only P35.8 million in 1999 and a net income of only P2.3 million that same year.

Our findings on President Estrada’s unexplained wealth and his propensity for acquiring real estate and building mansions were published in a series of articles in the second half of 2000. In October 2000, three of the PCIJ’s reports were included in the impeachment complaint against the President.

Investigating Estrada collects in one volume the PCIJ’s groundbreaking investigations on Estrada’s wealth. It also includes articles that examine the President’s unorthodox lifestyle, his keen appreciation of the perks of public office, his “Midnight Cabinet,” and his use of the powers of the presidency to enrich himself.

© 2000, 196 pages, ISBN 971-8686-29-0

The book is available at the PCIJ office. For more information, email or call (+632) 4319204.