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Estrada To Challenge His Successor

February 6, 2001

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Former President Joseph Estrada will file a suit with the Supreme Court on Tuesday questioning the legitimacy of his successor, his lawyer said.

The petition is the first direct challenge to the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was sworn in Jan. 20, the same day swelling street protests forced Estrada to leave office.

Attorney Rene Saguisag said the case will proceed along with a petition Estrada filed Monday with the Supreme Court, asking for the suspension of an investigation into corruption allegations against him. Estrada argued he still has presidential immunity from prosecution.

Also Monday, a panel of investigators rejected Estrada’s request that he be allowed 30 more days to address the investigation.

Estrada is under investigation on charges of economic plunder, misuse of funds, violations of the anti-graft law, perjury, bribery and possession of unexplained wealth.

Private prosecutors allege Estrada hid $200 million to $300 million in 15 accounts in 15 banks under at least six aliases.

Saguisag on Monday warned of unrest and street rallies if Estrada is arrested.

``The emotions it will arouse may lead to something we cannot control,″ said Saguisag. ``He has a following that will not agree that the present government is legitimate.″

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