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Philippines ex-president pardoned on corruption charges

[JURIST] Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada [BBC profile] received a presidential pardon Thursday from his former vice president and now President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website]. Estrada will be released from jail after having served six and a half years on corruption charges 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. The pardon [text] reads:

WHEREAS this administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have reached the age of seventy (70),

WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a half years,

WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office,

IN VIEW HEREOF and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to JOSEPH EJECRCITO ESTRADA, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of Plunder and imposed a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.

The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full, including all writs and processes issued by the Sandiganbayanin pursuance hereof, except for the bank account(s) he owned before his tenure as President.

Upon acceptance of this pardon JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, this pardon shall take effect.
Estrada was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] last month after his conviction. In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered Estrada to pay $15.5 million.

Estrada was forced from office and jailed during a 2001 revolt that brought Macapagal-Arroyo to power. He sent a letter [text] to Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday seeking the pardon [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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