Ex-Philippine leader says 'destined' for new term

MANILA — Joseph Estrada returned to the Philippine presidential palace Tuesday for the first time since he was deposed in a bloodless coup in 2001, insisting "destiny" would make it his again.

The 71 year-old movie star, who was convicted, jailed and then pardoned for corruption in 2007, was there for a meeting of the advisory national security council.

The council was convened by President Gloria Arroyo and includes former Filipino leaders as well as her top security advisers.

Estrada, who was deposed in a bloodless military coup in January 2001 that subsequently saw then vice president Arroyo installed, said he expected the meeting to tackle security threats linked to the May 10 presidential election.

Asked about his chances of succeeding Arroyo, Estrada said: "That?s destiny."

Independent polls, however, show Estrada will have a tough time regaining the post as he trails the two front-runners, Benigno Aquino and Manny Villar.

Estrada also faces possible disqualification because of a provision in the Philippine constitution that states no former Filipino leader can be president twice, though the state election monitor has yet to rule on whether or not he should be excluded.