The former Philippine President Joseph Estrada has said he will appeal against a life sentence imposed after he was found guilty of corruption. The Special Court verdict comes seven years after impeachment proceedings against Estrada collapsed. He told reporters on leaving the court he believed the ruling was politically motivated: “I was not given a chance to defend myself in the impeachment trial they aborted, so I said to myself that I’ll take the chance because this is the only forum that I can ventilate myself and tell the people, show the people my innocence.”
Estrada returned to his luxury villa near Manilla not knowing whether he will serve his sentence in a minimum security compound, or an overcrowded prison. That will be decided at a later date and the 70-year-old’s age and health may be factors.
Authorities are wary of a backlash from supporters of the one-time action film star. Estrada was ousted from power shortly after the impeachment bid failed. He was accused of salting away vast sums during a presidency in which he earned a reputation as a drinker, gambler and womaniser.