|Doña Mary Ejército|
May 2, 1905
Malate, Manila, Philippine Islands
|Died||January 13, 2009
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
|Other names||Mary Ejército
|Spouse(s)||Emilio Ejercito (m. 1926; wid. 1977)|
|Children||10 (inc. Joseph and George Sr.)|
María "Mary" Marcelo-Ejército (also known as Doña Mary; May 2, 1905 – January 13, 2009) was the mother of Joseph Ejército Estrada, the thirteenth President of the Philippines. Her ailing health was cited as among the reasons for the withdrawal of the appeal of the former President from his conviction for criminal plunder charges in 2007; Estrada was immediately pardoned by his successor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Marriage and children
She met Emilio Ejército, Sr. (1898-1977), an engineer who became the first Sanitary Engineer of the City of Manila. They were married on June 13, 1926 in Singalong, Manila. Together they had ten children: Pilarica, Emilio Jr. Paulie, Patrocinio, Antonio, Connie, Marita, the President Estrada, the actor George Estregan (Jorge) and Jesús (Jesse). In 1998, Ejército received the "Uliráng Ina" ('Exemplary Mother') award from the Philippines’ Elderly Persons Foundation. In that same year, she attended the Presidential inauguration of her son, Joseph, on 30 June at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan.
During her son's rule, Ejército kept a low profile. She reportedly advised her son to be cautious of the influence wielded by his close friends. During President Estrada's impeachment trial, news of the political crisis was deliberately withheld from her, but after receiving information of the proceedings she advised her son thusly: "It's more than high time you change. The people are angry now."
Ejército's health began to decline during her son's six-year incarceration; the ousted President would occasionally be granted furloughs to visit his ailing mother. In 2007, Ejercito was confined at the San Juan Medical Center, and rumours spread that she was near death. On September 12, 2007, Estrada was convicted by the Sandiganbayan (a special appellate collegial court) of plunder charges and sentenced to reclusión perpetua. One month later, he withdrew his appeal and instead sought for a presidential pardon. Among the reasons cited for the request, which was granted, was Ejército's "delicate condition".
On May 2, 2008, Ejército celebrated her 103rd birthday from her sickbed. She had been confined to hospital and attached to an artificial respirator since August 2007 and would remain so until death.
On December 12, 2008, a spokesperson for former President Estrada reported that Ejército was in critical condition and needed resuscitation, but her physicians announced later that day that her condition had since stabilised.
Ejército died on January 13, 2009 from a heart seizure and stomach aneurysm. Former President Estrada and his five surviving siblings Pilarica, Paulino, Pat, Marita, and Jesús, were at her side when she died, as were several grandchildren.
- "Philippines, Manila Civil Registration, 1899-1994," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-12228-7630-86?cc=1686086&wc=M8LJ-BW5:129556101,129694401,130976501 : accessed 02 May 2014), Marriage Certificates > 1926 > May, #79568-83765 > image 83 of 1017; citing Civil Registry Office, City Hall of Manila.
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