[Ryodan] Sandigan verdict: Erap guilty of plunder, cleared of perjury
phil_lenin at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 12 11:23:52 PHT 2007
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Sandigan verdict: Erap guilty of plunder, cleared of perjury
Ousted President Joseph Estrada was judged "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" of plunder, and sentenced to life in prison.
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, however, found Estrada not guilty of perjury charges.
In the meantime, the court allowed Estrada to return to his Tanay, Rizal resthouse, instead of being hauled off to jail.
As well, the court forfeited Estrada's ownership over the "Boracay mansion" and millions of pesos in the "Jose Velarde" account. - GMANews.TV
Erap: 'This is a political decision'
Former President Joseph Estrada said the decision of the Sandiganbayan to convict him of plunder was a "political decision."
"As expected, this Special Division was created to convict me," Estrada told journalists as he was led out of the courtroom.
"What is important is the support of the people, and they have overwhelmingly acquited me. This is a political decision," he said.
The former president said he agreed to submit himself to the court and face the charges filed against him because the Sandiganbayan is the only forum" where he could tell his side of the story.
Deposed President Joseph Estrada, who once pulled off the biggest election victory in Philippine history, was convicted Wednesday after a landmark six-year-old trial on charges that he took bribes and kickbacks in office.
Estrada was convicted of plunder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was acquitted of perjury for allegedly falsely declaring his assets.
Riot police and troops kept hundreds of flag-waving Estrada backers several blocks from the Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court that the former action film star inaugurated before he was ousted in January 2001 by the country's second people power" revolt.
Republic Act 7080 imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua" for the crime of plunder, meaning imprisonment ranging from 20 years and one day to 40 years, with civil interdiction of marital authority and of disposal of property, and perpetual absolute disqualification from public office or profession."
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, an Estrada ally and a lawyer, said that under the Penal Code, the period of Estradas preventive imprisonment at his Tanay estate will be deducted from his term of imprisonment.
The Sandiganbayan found Estrada guilty beyond reasonable doubt" for plunder for receiving P545-million in protection money from operators of the numbers racket jueteng; for diverting P130-million in the tobacco excise tax share of Ilocos Sur; for receiving P189.7-million kickback from Belle Corp. for the purchase of P1.8-billion worth of shares of stocks and for maintaining a P3.23-billion Jose Velarde" account.
The antigraft court, however, found Estrada not guilty of perjury or for violation of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code for false declaration of his 1999 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
Estradas son, Jinggoy Estrada, and lawyer Edward Serapio were found not guilty of plunder. - GMANews.TV
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