Recuperating in Hong Kong after knee surgery, disgraced former Philippine leader Joseph Estrada yesterday declared: 'I am still president.' The statement came as he vowed to unite the opposition against the 'reign of corruption and mismanagement' by the administration of his rival, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Estrada, who has been staying at a sprawling Parkview apartment overlooking Tai Tam since leaving the Adventist Hospital on Monday, plans to return to Manila tomorrow after 20 days in Hong Kong for a $100,000 knee operation. His supporters in Manila have planned a big welcome for the 67-year-old, who is slightly taller - and significantly thinner - since being given new kneecaps. Estrada, who is facing corruption charges, yesterday reiterated his claim that he had been 'unconstitutionally removed' from office on January 21, 2001, during a people-power uprising. Destabilisation rumours have rocked Manila in recent weeks, fuelled in part by the grief over the sudden death last month of actor Fernando Poe Jnr - who failed to topple Mrs Arroyo in May's elections - but exacerbated by the megaphone diplomacy mounted by Estrada from his hospital bed. Despite declaring that he is still president, Estrada said he did not intend to take up that role, nor be a kingmaker. 'Anybody can lead ... It is not in anybody's hands. It is already in the hands of God almighty,' he said. Asked how and when he would move to unite the opposition against Mrs Arroyo, he said: 'That remains to be seen how. I'll tell you when I'm already there. I do not know when.' Estrada, who is still taking sedatives, can now walk with crutches, but sometimes appears out of breath - something he attributes to 'smoker's cough'. 'My knees are painful because of the very cold weather,' he said. Late yesterday, key opposition figure Panfilo Lacson flew in to Hong Kong, reportedly to meet Estrada. The former leader remained coy about what he intended to say to the senator, who also lost in his bid for the presidency in May. 'I have been a superstar, a mayor, a senator, vice-president and president. 'And before I pass away, I want to say that I fought for the rule of law and to fight injustices being committed now to our people, and fight the reign of corruption and mismanagement that is happening in our country,' he said. In what could be seen as a blow to Estrada's plans, former first lady Imelda Marcos said yesterday she would not support a 'united opposition', adding that all sectors should help the country recover.