Monitor: The Far East Press Analyses the Legacy of the Former Philippines President Joseph Estrada, Who Is to Stand Trial for Corruption ; ALL THE NEWS OF THE WORLD

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Philippine Daily Enquirer

Joseph Estrada probably thinks of himself as a modern-day reincarnation of Diogenes. If, as president, he couldn't find a single honest man among his political foes and critics in media, now he can't find such a man even among his friends or, more accurately, his former friends. Confronted with the accusations of old friends and business cronies, Estrada has again fallen back on his old line of defense.

In an 11-page counter-affidavit he submitted to the Ombudsman, Estrada said the four witnesses lied when they testified that he had received any commission from the transactions. Those stock purchases were above board and decided by the appropriate committees, he said. "There is not a single piece of evidence that will support this case, save for the bare allegations made by people whose motives... are suspicious in nature at best." That is, of course, for the courts to decide. And right now it is Estrada's word against that of four of his closest friends and some of his top financial managers. Estrada probably thinks that he is the last honest man standing in the whole nation. (Philippines)

Far Eastern Economic Review

What to make of Luis Singson's amazing return to grace? The Philippine provincial governor is a self-confessed, illegal- gambling bagman who says that he used to spend a lot of time at drinking parties with former President Joseph Estrada.

Until recently, most people assumed he would end up in jail. But Estrada's successor and political rival, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo surprised the nation by naming Singson her administration's official "gambling consultant". Now, being a devoutly Roman Catholic people, Filipinos are not averse to the notion that a repentant sinner can become a saint. Many people here also harbour a certain amount of sympathy for Singson, whose allegations about Estrada's corrupt ways led to an impeachment trial and, ultimately, to the military-backed protests that toppled the president.

Nonetheless, Arroyo's coddling of a reputed criminal doesn't sit well with many people, who are coming to believe that the new president's cries for "clean government," "justice" and an "end to power politics" are hot air. (Hong Kong)

Manila Bulletin

"Is it yes or is it no?Do you love me, do you hate me? Should I stay or should I go?" There is no question that no one in the new administration loves ousted President Estrada, but as to whether it wants him to stay or to go into exile, it is split into two camps. …