Estrada and his son flown to hospital in Manila over illness


MANILA, Reuters

Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada and his son were taken from custody to hospital on Saturday after both complaining of illness, a presidential spokesman said.

The former movie actor and his son Jose, popularly known as “Jinggoy”, have been held in detention since their arrest on April 25 and are awaiting trial on charges of “economic plunder”, punishable by death or life imprisonment.

“Mr (Joseph) Estrada is complaining of fever and night chills and the preliminary diagnosis of the doctor is that he has an acute bronchitis. He’s also been complaining of pain in his joints and legs,” Rigoberto Tiglao told Reuters.

He said the condition was not life threatening. His adult son was complaining of pains in upper right chest and was suspected of having liver problems.

They were flown to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Quezon City in greater Manila from the police training camp in Sta. Rosa Laguna where they are being detained, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Manila.

Tiglao said the length of their stay in the military hospital would depend on the doctors’ prognosis.

Anti-graft court sheriff Ed Urieta told reporters the pair had been complaining of upset stomachs over the past two days.

He said medical personnel at the training camp decided to transfer them because they did not have the facilities to conduct a proper medical examination.

The plunder charge relates to allegations of graft and corruption leveled against Estrada and others during his 31-month term as president. He was ousted from power in a popular revolt in January by current president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The anti-graft court was considering a police motion filed late on Friday urging the court to overturn an earlier ruling that would allow Estrada and his son to leave jail to vote in their home area of San Juan in greater Manila at Monday’s election.

Police argued they could not guarantee the pair’s safety if they were allowed out of jail to cast their ballots.