Hantu LautIn desperate need of foreign support against his second sodomy trail Anwar Ibrahim has gone to meet some old friends.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International wants the sodomy charges against Anwar to be dropped.
“The Malaysian authorities have resorted to the same old dirty tricks in an attempt to remove the opposition leader from politics,” said Sam Zarifi, the Asia-Pacific director of Amnesty International in a statement.
“Malaysia’s judiciary should throw out these charges," he added.
Same old conspiracy theory sold by Anwar.
Anwar meets with Aquino, Estrada
MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) A light moment over brunch showed how the friendship between deposed President Joseph Estrada and former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has evolved through the years despite the distance between Manila and Kuala Lumpur and the jails that once kept each of them from the rest of the world.
Estrada and Ibrahim, who are again opposition leaders in their respective countries after serving time for what both describe as politically motivated cases, compared the length of their respective jail terms as close friends listened and laughed.
“How long did you stay in jail?” Estrada asked Ibrahim, according to the former president’s spokesperson Margaux Salcedo, who was also at the table.
Ibrahim said, “Six years.”
Not to be outdone, Estrada shot back, “I was in jail for six and half years.”
Estrada, nonetheless, said that one other person beat both of them by another six months.
“Ninoy Aquino was detained for seven years,” Salcedo quoted Estrada as saying.
Estrada and Ibrahim had a late breakfast of fried milkfish, fried eggs and fried rice at the Manila Polo Club on Saturday.
When they met members of the media as they wound up the meeting, the good-natured exchange continued almost without regard for formalities between one former head of state and an incumbent member of the Malaysian parliament.
“He knows more about Rizal than [I do],” Estrada said by way of explaining why he admired Ibrahim and how their friendship lasted through the years and even after both of them were incarcerated.
“I admire him because he’s so honest,” Ibrahim said with a laugh.
Ibrahim was first to go to jail on corruption and sodomy charges in April 1999. Two years later Estrada was ousted in a popular uprising that followed a failed impeachment trial.
Police arrested Estrada in 2001 on plunder charges and he stayed in various places of detention, including his out-of-town villa east of Metro Manila until he was convicted and pardoned in 2007.
A federal court overturned Ibrahim’s conviction in 2004 but a ban on his return to politics was upheld. After the prohibition lapsed, Ibrahim won a landslide victory and reclaimed a seat in the Malaysian parliament in 2008.
Estrada, on the other hand, has just been given by the Commission on Elections the go-signal to again run for President in the elections in May.
Estrada expressed concern that Ibrahim could again be facing “politically motivated cases” because of his popularity among the masses—something that he can easily identify with.
The former President has repeatedly blamed the country’s elite for his ouster in 2001. He has styled himself as the champion of the masses and was elected in 1998 on a pro-poor platform.
“[Maybe] this is my final overseas trip to meet my friends,” Ibrahim said.
The Malaysian opposition leader will face the court for another sodomy charge this week.
“I have not had a fair trial,” Ibrahim said, adding that when a judge practiced fairness in his case, she was promptly replaced.
The night before, Ibrahim said, the son of the martyred former senator and former President Corazon Aquino, presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III, dropped by at the New World Hotel were the Malaysian opposition leader stayed.
“They’re two family friends,” Ibrahim told reporters, referring to Estrada and the young Aquino.
“They treat me as a family member,” he added.
Ibrahim said his previous visit was quite memorable as Estrada hosted a dinner that former President Aquino attended despite her ailment.
“President Cory was then very ill but she was there. It was very memorable for me, [my wife] Aziza and the family,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim didn’t comment on who he would want to win in the next elections, Estrada or Noynoy Aquino. They’re both his friends, he said.
Estrada gave the comment that would remind one of his days in show business.
“He’s a friend of the Aquinos. He’s a friend of Erap. Let’s not put politics in it,” Estrada told reporters. Read more.