Estrada: 'The truth will come out'
MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Deposed Philippine President Joseph Estrada has hit out at his opponents, saying corruption charges against him are a total fabrication and a violation of his civil rights
Speaking exclusively to CNN following his dramatic arrest by Philippine police Wednesday, Estrada said he doubted that he would get a fair trial under the current administration.
Nonetheless Estrada, who is the only Philippine president ever arrested for graft, said he remained confident that "the truth will come out in the end."
The former leader who was forced to quit office amid a wave of popular street protests in January added that he believes he remains the legitimate leader of the Philippines and his arrest was part of a political conspiracy against him.
"As far as I'm concerned I'm still the duly elected president under our constitution," he told CNN from Philippine National Police Headquarters in Manila where he's being detained.
Referring to the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as a "mob rule" government, Estrada said his successor had "made a mockery of the constitution".
He said that his removal from office meant he had been "convicted on the street", rather than being allowed his day in court.
He said that under the Philippine constitution there are only four grounds to remove a president.
"First," he said, was "voluntary resignation -- and I did not resign. Second, permanent disability -- which I am not. Third, removal through senate impeachment trial conviction -- which didn't happen. And the fourth, which is death."
Estrada said that the case against him was weak and based on fabricated evidence.
"I was denied the due process of law and they are making a mockery of the bill of rights," he said referring to the prosecution team.
Arroyo would not be drawn into commenting on Estrada's arrest.
"My spokesman has already read my statement and I wish to say nothing further than that," she told CNN. Her statement said it was an important event in the history of the Philippines.
When pressed on whether she would support a death penalty if it was rendered to Estrada, Arroyo refused to answer.
"I am not going to speak about that personally," she said.
Big business 'conspiracy'
The former movie star, who campaigned for the presidency two years ago as a champion of the poor, said his arrest marked the culmination of a long-running "conspiracy" waged against him by Philippine big business.
"This was plotted since the time I assumed office by my political enemies," he said.
Among those working to bring about his downfall he said were a group of powerful businessmen, popularly known as the "Makati", after the main business district in Manila.
"These people control the media, the radio, the TV and the newsprint" he said, adding they have "spread disinformation everyday for the last four months".
He said his arrest was part of a strategy designed to "discredit and immobilize" him during the final days of campaigning for mid-term elections to the Philippine senate.
The poll will be the first electoral test of support for President Arroyo's administration and a number of Estrada loyalists, including the former president's wife, are running for seats.
"I am being oppressed without due process of law," he said.
Estrada tells loyalists to remain calm
Philippine Office of the Press Secretary
|Back to the top|