ESTRADA MOVED TO NEW JAIL TO PREVENT 'RESCUE' ATTEMPT

MANILA, July 27, 2003 (STAR) - Deposed president Joseph Estrada was moved to a new detention center in the Philippines capital to prevent a possible rescue attempt by supporters backing a military rebellion, officials said.

Estrada, who protested the switch, "has nothing to do with this" mutiny, his spokesman Raymond Fortun told a news conference.

But he said the former leader, on trial for corruption but who insists he was illegally removed from office in 2001, has only "sheer admiration for these young soldiers for risking their careers and their lives for the sake of their country."

A heavily guarded convoy led by armored personnel carriers whisked Estrada to the military intelligence compound jail at Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters from a suburban military hospital where he has been held for two years.

Military intelligence has learned that a "group" plotted to spring Estrada from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center to take advantage of the crisis, vice chief of staff Lieutenant General Rodolfo Garcia told reporters.

"By deduction, it would have to be related" to the mutiny, Garcia added. He said he did not know for sure if those who planned to spring him had any connections with the military rebels.

Estrada lawyers and supporters protested the relocation, even as riot police dispersed a small group of pro-Estrada loyalists who were marching on the capital's main avenue to show their support for the occupation of a suburban shopping mall by a group of rebel soldiers.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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