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Philippines ex-president seeks pardon of corruption conviction

[JURIST] Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada [BBC profile] abandoned efforts to appeal his corruption conviction on charges stemming from kickbacks he received while in office and instead submitted a letter [text] Monday to current Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website] requesting a presidential pardon. Prosecutors in the case have sharply opposed Estrada's request, saying the government should use Estrada's conviction as an example and that the government needs to show other countries that the Philippines is serious about fighting corruption. Macapagal-Arroyo immediately deferred the request to her advisers. Estrada, commenting [Inquirer report] on the request to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said he realized his appeal would likely be fruitless and decided to defer to the judgment of his lawyers, who believe a presidential pardon is their best hope. 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 in a 2001 revolt that brought Macapagal-Arroyo, his former vice president, to power. He has been held in detention in the Philippines [JURIST news archive] ever since his ouster. He was 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.

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