MANILA: The former Philippine leader Joseph Estrada, ousted in a popular uprising in 2001 and later convicted of corruption, says he will stand again for president in next year’s elections.”Yes, I will run,” Mr Estrada, 72, said when asked to confirm press reports of his decision.The former action-movie star said he had chosen Jejomar Binay, the popular Mayor of Manila’s Makati financial district and a leader of the political opposition, as his vice-presidential candidate.Mr Estrada said he would make a formal announcement of his decision at the Santo Nino church in the impoverished Manila district of Tondo next Wednesday.Tondo was the setting of many of his past movies, in which he gained enormous national popularity by playing tough-guy roles as a defender of the poor and downtrodden.Mr Estrada represents the United Opposition, a coalition of two influential parties that have been critical of the President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.However, there are two strong opposition contenders representing other parties in next year’s elections: Benigno Aquino, the son of the late democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, and a billionaire property developer, Manny Villar.The Defence Secretary, Gilberto Teodoro, will represent Ms Arroyo’s ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition.Mr Estrada said he was confident of victory in the election due in May 2010. ”I will not run for the presidency if I’m not sure I’ll win.’Mr Estrada said his edge would be his experience, having climbed the political ladder first as a town mayor, a senator and a vice-president before a landslide victory as the country’s 13th president in 1998.His term, however, was cut short by a military-backed popular revolt in 2001, amid accusations he amassed wealth from illegal gambling kickbacks and shady deals amounting to tens of millions of dollars.He was convicted of large-scale graft and sentenced to life in jail in 2007.But Ms Arroyo, who played a key role in deposing him when she served as his vice-president, pardoned him six weeks later.Agence France-Presse
Nanjing Night Net

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