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Convicted Philippine ex-president files reconsideration motion
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15:24, September 26, 2007

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Former president of the Philippines Joseph Estrada, who was found guilt of plunder earlier this month, on Wednesday appealed the anti-graft court to reverse the verdict, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on its website.

Through his lawyers, Estrada filed a motion of reconsideration at the Sandiganbayan, the Philippine anti-graft court, which on Sept. 12 sentenced him to life in prison over a plunder charge that includes illegal amassing of 4 billion pesos (86 million U.S. dollars) through bribes and kick-backs during his presidency from 1998 to early 2001.

The motion said Estrada "had been denied his right to be presumed innocent and had been convicted on the basis of surmises, inferences and speculative evidence," and that "the court had pyramided inference upon inference to build a case for conviction against President Estrada," according to the paper.

The motion claimed the anti-graft court admitted "inadmissible hearsay" evidence, "which violated the right of the accused to confront the witnesses against him," it said.

Even since the verdict was read out on Sept. 12, Estrada has repeatedly claimed it was a product of political manipulation and insisted on his innocence in front of the laws and in the hearts of average Filipino.

Estrada on Tuesday turned down a pardon offered by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the disgraced former leader said he would "exhaust all legal remedies to prove his innocence."

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, who took over Estrada in 2001 and succeeded in 2004 presidential election, agreed to negotiate with Estrada on pardon deals, considering his health and age. But analysts said the pardon was offered in exchange of political stability.

Estrada was a famous film star before he took up politics in late 1960s. Even found guilty of grafts, Estrada still wields some influence among the grassroots Filipinos.

Source: Xinhua

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