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Former Philippines president sentenced to life in prison for corruption

[JURIST] Ousted Philippines president Joseph Estrada [BBC profile] was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after being convicted on "plunder" charges stemming from kickbacks he received while in office. Plunder was formerly a capital offense, but the Philippines abolished the death penalty in June 2006. Estrada said that he was disappointed with the trial [AP report], saying that the decision against him was based on political motives. In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered Estrada to pay $15.5 million. The former president's son Jinggoy Estrada and lawyer Eduardo Serapio, co-defendants on the charges, were acquitted.

Estrada was forced from power in a 2001 revolt that brought to power his former vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website]. He has been held in detention in the Philippines [JURIST news archive] ever since his ouster. He had been charged with mass corruption under the nation's economic plunder law [text] for allegedly stashing some $77 million in gambling payoffs, kickbacks and illegal commissions in secret bank accounts under an alias. AP has more. The Philippines Star has local coverage.

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