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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 13:05 GMT
Estrada told to hand over assets
Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada acknowledges the crowd as he delivers a speech after his release, Oct. 26, 2007
Estrada was freed six weeks after begin convicted for corruption
A Philippine court has served former President Joseph Estrada with an order to seize his assets.

Earlier this year, Estrada was found guilty of embezzlement and given a life sentence - but was freed after just six weeks on a presidential pardon.

He has now been told that an order to seize some 700m pesos ($16m; 8m) as a result of the conviction still stands.

Estrada said a mansion and two bank accounts could be taken, but pledged to fight to keep his other assets.

"What is rightfully mine, you will never be able to get," he told a local radio station.

Freedom deal

When Estrada was released on 26 October, after more than six years in detention, both he and his supporters were ecstatic.

His successor as president, Gloria Arroyo, said she had decided to pardon Estrada - her greatest rival - in order to end political divisions.

He, in turn, thanked Mrs Arroyo and promised not to re-enter politics.

But while his freedom is now assured, his assets are not.

The anti-corruption court which heard the six-year case against Estrada ordered sheriff Ed Urietta to seize more than 700m pesos in funds deposited in two accounts, as well as a mansion in Manila's suburbs.

Estrada has always agreed that the mansion and the two accounts were not his and that he would not oppose their confiscation.

But the funds in the accounts have dwindled over the years, and Mr Urietta told the French news agency AFP that he might be forced to take other assets "until I can return to the government the entire amount in the order".

Estrada, however, has refused to surrender any of his other properties.

"These properties are mine. I acquired them way back when I was still a movie actor," he was quoted as saying on local radio.

"I worked hard for it. I did not steal these from the government and is it my fault that I know how to invest?"



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Estrada freed
26 Oct 07 |  In Pictures
Convicted Estrada's tranquil jail
12 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Estrada gets life for corruption
12 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
25 Oct 07 |  Country profiles



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