Court asks Estrada to pay P190M in fullBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Sandiganbayan is now demanding in full the payment of the P189.7-million judgment cost in the trial of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada six years after he was convicted of plunder.
The antigraft court’s special division, in a resolution dated Feb. 11, ordered its Sheriff and Security Services Office to serve a second “Notice to Deliver on Banco de Oro-Unibank Inc.” to turn over the complete cost, including accrued interest and income held in an investment management account (IMA) in the name of “Jose Velarde.” Jose Velarde is Estrada’s alias.
On Sept. 12, 2007, the court ordered the forfeiture of the deposits in IMA No. 101-78056-1, P545.3 million in alleged illegal gambling payola, and the so-called Boracay mansion in New Manila, Quezon City.
In a manifestation dated Feb. 18, Albert de la Cruz, acting chief judicial staff officer, said that BDO had already transferred to the court sheriff a total of P101.3 million—P98.26 million going to the National Treasury, P1.013 million to the special allowances for justices and judges, and P2.026 million to the Judiciary Development Fund.
Also recovered were 450 million shares of Waterfront Philippines Inc., which the sheriff tried to auction in 2009. The sheriff put off the auction after Wellex Group Inc. filed a case against then Sheriff Edgardo Urieta in the Makati Regional Trial Court, De la Cruz said. The case was later dismissed last year.
De la Cruz told the court that the Waterfront shares should be sold to pay for the unsatisfied balance of P88.4 million from IMA No. 101-78056-1.
“The excess amount of the sale, if any, shall be added to or shall form part of the other amounts which have been ordered forfeited by this court but have not been recovered in full,” he said.
De la Cruz said that only P200 million of the P545.3 million in jueteng payola from the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation, along with P15-million interest, had been recovered.
De la Cruz said other assets in the IMA trust account, including a chattel mortgage for P500 million and 300 million shares of Wellex, may likewise be sold if the proceeds from the sale of the Waterfront shares were not enough.
But this may require the issuance of another notice for delivery to BDO, he said.
On Sept. 11, 2007, after a six-year trial, the Sandiganbayan found Estrada guilty beyond reasonable doubt for plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, or a jail term of up to 40 years.
The antigraft court also agreed to consider Estrada’s more than six years in detention as time served for the offense.
A month and a half after the conviction, then President Macapagal-Arroyo exercised her executive clemency powers and pardoned Estrada.
In its decision on Estrada’s plunder charge, the Sandiganbayan ordered the forfeiture of Estrada’s bank accounts and real estate property in Quezon City in favor of the government.