MANILA, April 21, 2004
By Delon Porcalla - If having a bum knee won’t convince the anti-graft court to grant house arrest to jailed President Joseph Estrada, maybe a non-existent sex life would.

Estrada, 67, who has sired several children with at least three women, jokingly complained yesterday that his sex life is "zero" because the bungalow where he is detained in a police camp in Tanay, Rizal is "not conducive" to physical intimacy.

He said his resthouse across the camp, however, may just provide the kind of "ambience" he needs for reinvigorated sexual activity.

"My sex life is zero. Why? Because the place is not conducive," a smiling Estrada told reporters in his detention cell at Camp Capinpin, a day after he was granted a 12-hour furlough by the Sandiganbayan to celebrate his birthday at his 15-hectare resthouse less than a kilometer away.

"Conducive is dapat mabango ang kuwarto, may bathtub at malaki ang kama (the room must smell good, with a bathtub and a big bed)," he said. "Iyong resthouse ko, puede na rin iyon (My resthouse will do)."

Estrada, a known womanizer especially during his heyday as a movie star, has been detained at Camp Capinpin since mid-October.

The former president was ousted from power in 2001 amid accusations of corruption. It has been alleged that he also used the millions he plundered to buy mansions for at least one of his mistresses.

In a petition to the Sandiganbayan special division hearing his case, Estrada has asked to be transferred to his vacation house right across Camp Capinpin.

Estrada, who has arthritic knees, has underscored the need for him to undergo physical therapy at his resthouse. His sprawling Tanay property has a 14-room dormitory, a man-made lagoon, a four-feet deep 20 x 10 swimming pool, a pavilion, chapel, fishpond, a helipad and a two-bedroom bungalow.

Estrada originally wanted to have a weekly therapy at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center in San Juan but prosecutors opposed this. Prosecutors all the more objected after defense lawyers modified their request, suggesting their client be relocated to his Tanay resthouse.

The anti-graft court has yet to decide on the motion of Estrada’s lawyers Noel Malaya, Manuel Pamaran and Jose Flaminiano.

Estrada’s lawyers have also noted that the government would spend less if he was kept at his resthouse. Estrada even offered to lease it to the government for P1 a year.

He has also complained that his military quarters runs short of amenities he needs, specifically running water.

Sandiganbayan justices inspected yesterday Estrada’s resthouse.

On his golf cart, the deposed leader himself led the tour of his estate for Justices Minita Chico-Nazario, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Ma. Cristina Cortez-Estrada. Prosecutors, court staff and the media were also present.

While the court was determining as well whether Estrada’s detention cell had water shortage, it was learned that his restroom there had a toilet bowl that flushed. His staff were also seen using the kitchen with water pouring out of the faucet.

Chief Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio raised these in the hearing, reiterating his opposition to Estrada’s house arrest.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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