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Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Estrada to stay in hospital
President Arroyo greets Estrada in prison before his transfer to hospital
President Arroyo (left) is concerned about Estrada's health
Deposed Philippines President Joseph Estrada will be allowed to remain in hospital awaiting his trial on corruption charges.

A court had earlier ruled he should be transferred to a specially built prison outside Manila ahead of his trial on 27 June.


We see a lot of compassion on the part of the court

Estrada lawyer Raymond Fortun
Overturning the order, Judge Anacleto Badoy said police should "allow the former president to remain at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center until further orders".

Mr Estrada's doctors said the hospital's "physical and psychological environment" would help his health. The hospital's facilities include a golf course and cable television.

Supreme Court challenge

Mr Estrada's lawyer, Raymond Fortun, said the court ruling was a "very good development". He said he hoped the court would go further and order Mr Estrada be detained at his suburban mansion.


Big time politicians are being given special privileges for their big time crimes

Prosecutor Leonard de Vera
But prosecutors acting for the government sad they would challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

"Big time politicians are being given special privileges for their big time crimes and this is certainly not consistent with equality in the eyes of the law," prosecutor Leonard de Vera said.

Health fears

The former president has been treated for the past month for bronchitis and emphysema.

Joseph Estrada
Doctors have said Estrada is well enough to go back to prison
Doctors recently said he was well enough to leave the Manila hospital but President Gloria Arroyo has sympathised with Mr Estrada's wish to remain there.

Last week a presidential spokesman said moving Mr Estrada could put his life in danger.

Charges

Mr Estrada, a former film star, was toppled in a popular revolt on 20 January and arrested three months later. He is accused of abusing his powers to amass a personal fortune of millions of dollars.

He is also facing a charge of economic plunder, punishable by death.

Mr Estrada strongly denies any wrongdoing, saying the charges are politically motivated.

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See also:

14 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada 'at risk in prison'
21 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Arroyo's Estrada prison 'deal' criticised
02 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines president widens crackdown
25 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Jailed Estrada defiant
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