Estrada coaccused knew about charges, government lawyers insist
Government prosecutors have insisted before the Sandiganbayan that Yolanda Ricaforte was properly served and received copies of the supplemental complaint filed against her, as well as of the Ombudsman resolution indicting her for plunder 10 years ago.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor said Ricaforte, a coaccused in the plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada, was aware of the charges against her even if the special prosecutor could not produce the documents to show that she had received the complaint and the resolution.
The OSP made the assertions in a motion asking the court to admit its compliance with the resolution that directed it to show Ricaforte had received the documents.
Ricaforte earlier asked the court to order a new preliminary investigation in her case and to quash her arrest warrant.
She had claimed, among other things, that there had been no valid preliminary investigation since she was unable to answer the allegations in the supplemental complaint, which contained the specific details of the charges against her.
She said she did not receive the April 4, 2001, resolution that recommended plunder charges against her and that this showed the preliminary investigation had not been completed.
She contended that she had given her new address in the United States in her January 2001 counter-affidavit, yet the resolution was still sent to her old address.
In its latest motion, the OSP admitted it could not find the document with the address to which the Office of the Ombudsman sent its Feb. 2, 2001 order requiring Ricaforte to comment on the supplemental complaint.
Proof of Ricaforte’s receipt
It could not find as well the proof of Ricaforte’s receipt of the April 4, 2001, resolution.
Nevertheless, it said that Ricaforte clearly received the February 2 order since in her March 7, 2001, motion she mentioned that she was served a copy of the second supplemental complaint attached to the February 2 order requiring her to comment.
As for the April 4 resolution, the OSP said the prosecution insisted that despite the absence of proof, a copy was sent to Ricaforte’s address at Veterans Village in Quezon City.
Ricaforte allegedly acted as the auditor of collections of illegal gambling payoffs to Estrada. She left the country at the height of the corruption scandal that ended with Estrada’s ouster from office and subsequent conviction for plunder in 2007. Estrada was since pardoned.