MANILA, Philippines—Ousted President Joseph Estrada on Friday “clarified” he was not obligated to comply with the Sandiganbayan’s demand that he pay a P189.7-million judgment following his conviction for plunder in 2007.
Estrada’s lawyer, Pacifico Agabin, described as misleading the headline of an INQUIRER article on Thursday which ran, “Court asks Erap to pay P190M in full.”
“The Inquirer headline was malicious and misleading. The court order was very clearly addressed to Banco de Oro, not to former President Estrada. Erap has no more obligation to the court,” Agabin said in a statement to the INQUIRER on Friday.
The Inquirer report said a resolution issued by the Sandiganbayan’s special division 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 all the funds in an investment management account (IMA) under the name “Jose Velarde.”
At the impeachment trial of Estrada, then Equitable-PCI Bank executive Clarissa Ocampo testified that she was only a foot away when Estrada signed documents as Jose Velarde in Malacañang.
Agabin, however, insisted it was businessman Jaime Dichaves, an associate and coaccused of Estrada in the plunder case, who used the alias and not the former president.
“Remember that in February 2001, at the initiative of Senate President Nene Pimentel, the second envelope was opened before the local and foreign media and it contained the document that stated that Jaime Velarde is Jaime Dichavez (sic), not Joseph Estrada,” Agabin said.
The Sandiganbayan on Sept. 11, 2007, found Estrada guilty of plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, or a prison term of up to 40 years. Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned Estrada a month after the conviction.
The Sandiganbayan had also ordered the forfeiture of Estrada’s bank accounts and real estate property in Quezon City in favor of the government.
On Estrada’s behalf, Agabin said, he had asked the Sandiganbayan to give an accounting of what had been collected so far with the decision.
“I have already written a letter to the sheriff for an accounting and now await his reply,” he said.
The court’s acting judicial staff officer Albert de la Cruz, in a manifestation dated Feb. 18, reported that BDO had transferred to the court P101.3 million, as well as 450 million shares of Waterfront Philippines Inc. Dona Pazzibugan