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Prosecution Clears Hurdle in Estrada Case

November 20, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

The Philippine Supreme Court dealt a blow to ousted President Joseph Estrada's legal defense, ruling that the plunder law he is accused of violating is constitutional.

The 10-4-1 decision means that Estrada's trial, already underway at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court, will continue. He has been in detention since April.

"The Supreme Court said the law is constitutional, no question about it," court spokesman Ishmael Khan said.

Estrada's lawyers contended that the anti-plunder law--which the former actor championed as a senator in the 1990s--was too vague, depriving him of his constitutional right to know clearly the charges against him and prepare an adequate defense.

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