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Philippines Graft Sept 12

PHILIPPINES
Graft
September 12, 2007
Former president found guilty of plunder, gets life
A special Philippine antigraft court on Wednesday convicted former President Joseph Estrada of plunder during his presidency and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Estrada, 70, however, was acquitted of perjury for allegedly underreporting his assets.

"I thought the rule of law would prevail over here. This is really a kangaroo court," Estrada told reporters as he left the Sandiganbayan courthouse after a 10-minute hearing. "This is a political decision."

The three judges of the graft court unanimously found Estrada guilty of two of four counts of receiving about 545 million pesos ($11.6 million) from illegal gambling receipts and collecting 189.7 million pesos in commissions from insider trading.

He was ordered to return more than 731 million pesos, plus interest, to the government and forfeit one of his mansions. Kyodo news reports

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