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 ERAP Trial Timeline

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PostSubject: ERAP Trial Timeline   September 11th 2007, 10:47 pm

The Estrada Trial


April 4 -- The Ombudsman files a P4.097-billion plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada in the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court and minor charges of perjury for allegedly underreporting his assets in 1999 and for illegal use of alias.

The plunder case is composed of four charges -- acceptance of P545 million in protection money from illegal gambling (“jueteng”), misappropriation of P130 million in tobacco excise taxes, collection of a P189.7-million commission from the sale of the shares of Belle Corp. (a real estate firm), and amassing and depositing P3,233,104,173.17 in a bank account under the name Jose Velarde.

Estrada’s co-accused are his son Jinggoy Estrada, Charlie “Atong” Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, Eleuterio Tan (a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramas Tan or Mr. Uy) and Jane Doe (a.k.a. Delia Rajas). Businessman Jaime Dichaves is later added as a respondent.

April 25 -- The Sandiganbayan issues a warrant to arrest Estrada for allegedly committing economic plunder. He is arrested hours later.

May 1 -- Estrada and his son are airlifted from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City to the Special Action Forces Training Center in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. Pro-Estrada supporters march on Malacañang, resulting in violent clashes between policemen and the marchers, in what the media described as EDSA Tres.

June 9 -- The court denies Estrada and his son Jinggoy’s petition for house arrest.

June 19 -- Estrada’s perjury case is raffled off to the Sandiganbayan First Division chaired by Justice Francis Garchitorena.

June 27 -- Estrada is arraigned on the perjury charge. He refuses to enter a plea.

Sept. 3 -- Start of the four-day pre-trial for the plunder case against Estrada, son Jinggoy and Serapio. Nine Ricaforte accounts are frozen by the Sandiganbayan but prosecution’s request to freeze the P211 million in deposits of the Erap Youth Foundation Inc. (EMYF) is rejected.

Sept. 18 -- Estrada files petition with the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the Anti-Plunder Law.

Oct. 1 -- Plunder trial starts.

Nov. 7 -- Carlos Arellano, former chair, president and chief executive officer of the Social Security System, testifies on how Estrada “pressured” him into authorizing the purchase of P784 million worth of Belle Corp. shares using SSS funds in October 1999.

Nov. 15 -- Defense lawyers argue that the testimonies of two key prosecution witnesses that Estrada made money from the purchase of Belle Corp. shares using the SSS funds were mere “hearsay.”

Nov. 19 -- The Supreme Court upholds the Anti-Plunder Law.


Jan. 7 -- Belle Corp. vice chair Willie Ng Ocier testifies that a P189.7-million I-Bank check was issued by the SSI Management, the company that sold Belle shares to the SSS and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in October 1999, to pay the commission allegedly demanded by Estrada.

Jan. 8 -- The Supreme Court forms a “special division” in the Sandiganbayan to hear all the different criminal cases against Estrada.

Feb. 25 -- Estrada admits on ABS-CBN that he had signed as Jose Velarde on certain bank documents back in 2000, but explains this was to execute as a form of “guarantee” to convince Jaime Dichaves, the supposed true owner of the account, to lend money to businessman William Gatchalian.

Feb. 27 -- Estrada refuses to enter a plea on his arraignment for illegal use of an alias. Later in the evening, he announces that he has ordered the withdrawal of his lawyers from all the cases filed against him. He says his decision was prompted by the Supreme Court’s rejection of Jinggoy’s bail petition.

April 12 -- He refuses to enter a plea in his second perjury charge for understating his net assets in 1998.

April 17 -- Prosecutors present two “star witnesses” -- Equitable Bank executive Clarissa Ocampo and lawyer Manuel Curato -- who earlier testified at Estrada’s impeachment trial that they saw him sign bank documents as “Jose Velarde.”

May 22 -- Prosecutors start presenting “Juetenggate”-related evidence. Edelquinn Nantes, manager of Equitable PCIBank Timog branch, testifies that Ricaforte opened a savings account with the branch on Sept. 1, 1999, with an initial deposit of P17.2 million.

June 17 -- Ma. Carmencita “Menchu” Itchon testifies that Estrada allegedly put up a casino-operating firm with bribe money from illegal gambling syndicates.

July 1 -- Emma Lim testifies that alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda and Anton Prieto, Estrada’s presidential assistant for Bicol affairs, had regularly delivered jueteng collections to former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson who, in turn, allegedly gave them to Estrada.

July 24 -- Singson, Estrada’s main nemesis, takes the stand. He recalls that in order to give Estrada’s favorite mistress Laarni Enriquez a P13-million necklace as a gift for her birthday in 1999, several of his friends chipped in P1.2 million each. Singson says he drew his contribution not from his own pocket but from Estrada’s jueteng money deposited in a Metrobank account.

July 31 -- Estrada lawyers attack the credibility of Singson by exposing the “favors” he allegedly received from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for his role in Estrada’s ouster.

Aug. 15 -- Defense and prosecution clash over the credibility of Singson’s “jueteng ledger,” supposed evidence that Estrada was on the take from illegal gambling.

Aug. 26 -- The Sandiganbayan orders a freeze of the bank deposits believed to be illegally amassed by Estrada, Ang and Ricaforte.

Sept. 30 -- Antonio Martin Fortuno, operations officer at the Pacific Star-Makati branch of Equitable PCI Bank, discusses at length how Estrada’s alleged jueteng payola ended up as funds for the EMYF.

Oct. 2 -- Serapio’s lead counsel, Sabino Acut, presents as defense evidence minutes of the EMYF board meetings, which showed that the foundation’s officers included then Equitable PCI Bank chair George Go. Estrada’s spokesperson, Raymund Fortun, says the presence of an important person like Go in the EMYF board shatters the prosecution’s claim that it was a front for illegal activities.

Nov. 13 -- Ocampo takes the witness stand as the prosecution’s 49th witness. Reprising her revelations at the impeachment trial, she says Estrada kept a multibillion-peso bank account using an alias and that on Feb. 4, 2000 he signed as “Jose Velarde” 15 times on documents she had prepared loaning P500 million from the Velarde account to Gatchalian’s Wellex Croup Inc.

Nov. 18 -- State prosecutors distribute to the press copies of George Go’s January 2001 affidavit recounting a Dec. 13, 2000, incident in which Dichaves signed documents antedated to Feb. 4, 2000, transferring to Dichaves’ name the P500-million trust account opened by “Jose Velarde.” Marcelo says it would corroborate Ocampo’s testimony and demolish the defense panel’s insistence that Dichaves was the real Velarde.


Jan. 21 -- Prosecutors ask the court to subpoena documents from the now defunct Urban Bank for transactions under the name of San Juan Mayor Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Estrada’s son with former actress Guia Gomez. They allege that the Ejercito account was the source of seven checks worth P182 million that went into the Velarde account, further proof that it belonged to his father.

Feb. 10 -- The court denies Ejercito’s motion opposing the court’s subpoena regarding his Urban Bank accounts.

Feb. 11 -- Prosecutors call for an inspection of the so-called Boracay mansion in New Manila, Quezon City. Defense lawyers pose objections, saying such exercise would only cater to “the publicity seekers,” and argue that the property could not be used as evidence since it was not mentioned in the plunder charge.

March 6 -- After two years in detention, Jinggoy is allowed to post a P500,000 bail. But the court still notes that he probably collected “jueteng” money only for his own selfish needs and not in conspiracy with his father.

March 19 -- Sandiganbayan justices inspect the Boracay mansion. Among their findings was a furniture locator slip that had “Laarni V. Enriquez” as the approving authority, an item which prosecutors said was a giveaway that Estrada owned the mansion.

April 9 -- Public prosecutors rest their case after presenting 76 witnesses and close to 700 documents.

May 19 -- Estrada hires a new lawyer, Ateneo de Manila law professor Alan Paguia.

July 28 -- First hearing for the defense evidence.

Nov. 25 -- The Supreme Court unanimously decides to suspend Paguia for “liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity and authority” of its members despite repeated warnings.


July 12 -- The court rules that Estrada could not be prosecuted for using the “Velarde” alias to open a bank account in 2000, saying the practice was not illegal at that time. But it was not legal for him to hide the existence of the bank account where he allegedly stashed billions of pesos in ill-gotten wealth.

Sept. 1 -- Estrada files a motion asking the court to allow the return of the nine-person defense team led by lawyer Rene Saguisag that he dismissed two years ago. He says he wanted the panel to represent him instead of his four court-appointed lawyers.

Nov. 17 -- Jinggoy Estrada claims that he was shooting “Peksman” somewhere in Quezon City on the night of Oct. 8, 2000, contrary to Singson’s claims that Jinggoy met with him that night and begged him not to proceed with the Juetengate exposé.


May 11 -- Court grants Saguisag’s petition asking the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to produce P130 million in cash. He wants to prove that such bulk of cash would be too heavy (P130 million in P1,000-bills already weighs about 130 kilos) for Ang to have hand-carried to Estrada in August 1998, as Singson earlier claimed.

May 25 -- In a demonstration conducted at the BSP, Saguisag says P130 million in cash could not fit inside the four boxes that were previously described by Singson, adding that the boxes could only contain P80 million.

May 27 -- Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio reiterates that nobody, not even Singson, said that Ang had delivered all of the P130 million to Estrada on Aug. 31, 1998, adding that bank records showed that on that day, Ang had drawn only P90 million from the Mandaluyong City branch of Westmont Bank.

June 6 -- The defense presents lawyer Hilario Ragunjan who authenticates suspected gambling lord Bong Pineda’s statement denying his involvement in jueteng.

Oct. 4 -- The Sandiganbayan denies Estrada’s petition for bail, explaining that the deciding factor is the strength of evidence against the accused and not the probability of flight.


March 22 -- Estrada testifies for the first time, dismissing the charges against him as “a pack of lies.” His request for live media coverage is denied. Several hundred pro-Estrada protesters tried to march to the Sandiganbayan but were turned back without incident.

March 29 -- Estrada says Singson actually pocketed the millions in tobacco kickbacks that he allegedly delivered to him in four boxes. He also alleges that before he assumed the presidency, Singson took P1.4 billion in advances and payments for overpriced and nonexistent construction projects from 1997 to 1998.

April 5 -- Estrada cites as part of his defense evidence a book by the late National Artist Nick Joaquin, “Joseph Estrada and Other Sketches,” saying it records one of his first acts as San Juan mayor -- a crackdown on “jueteng” operations. But for Villa-Ignacio, the late Joaquin is more noted for fiction writing.

April 19 -- Estrada testifies that a son out of wedlock received a P1.2-million check from Singson as a birthday gift and denies it was meant to buy a P13-million necklace for his mistress.

April 26 -- Estrada calls Singson a “corrupt governor,” “a publicly accused murderer,” a “documented” smuggler, and someone who worked for his ouster because he was about to lose his own illegal gambling racket to state-sanctioned gaming.

He denies allegations that the EMYF had laundered P200 million from jueteng, saying he discovered too late that the foundation had received the money. When he did he asked Serapio, then his presidential assistant on political affairs and EMYF’s corporate secretary, to return it to Singson, Estrada says he “knew immediately” that the money came from jueteng and that Singson was “a scheming crony who merely used [Estrada’s] name to rake in jueteng collections for himself.”

May 24 -- Estrada admits in court that he signed bank documents as “Jose Velarde” but denies that the controversial bank account was his but is actually owned by his friend Dichaves, and that he had earlier reached an “internal arrangement” with Dichaves and the bank before he signed.

May 31 -- Estrada tells the court he chose to face the charges to prove his innocence rather than go into “exile” in shame. He insists he is still President since he “has not resigned” and “was never incapacitated or impeached.” He identifies “powerful and influential” people who allegedly conspired to oust him.

June 14 -- Estrada admits holding several undeclared bank accounts containing more than P56 million in deposits, but insists these were campaign funds that he was just holding in trust. He explains that he did not declare the deposits in his 1998 Statement of Assets and Liabilities because the money belonged to his party Partido ng Masang Pilipino.

June 21 -- Prosecutors accuse Estrada of lying in court when he denied allegations of kickbacks from government contracts. Villa-Ignacio cites documents from the Office of the President indicating that Estrada had agreed to guarantee nearly 45 billion yen in numerous soft loans from Japanese aid agencies in 2000.

June 28 -- Taking the stand for the 11th and last time, Estrada says he is confident of an acquittal.


Jan. 24 -- Estrada’s co-accused Charlie “Atong” Ang agrees to return P25 million to government as part of a plea bargain offer. He says the amount was part of the P130 million in tobacco excise tax that he and Estrada “diverted” in 1998.

March 14 -- The Sandiganbayan approves the plea bargain. Ang surrenders his Corinthian Gardens home in lieu of the P25 million. He was later sentenced to between two years and four months and six years in jail instead of up to 40 years as part of the deal.

June 13 -- Prosecution and defense file their summation of evidence and arguments before the Sandiganbayan. Public prosecutors submit 626 pages; the defense, 276 pages.

June 15 -- The trial closes with final oral arguments, which lasts for seven hours, and the first to be held in the Sandiganbayan’s 29-year history. Estrada says he “believes 100 percent” that he would be acquitted. PlunderWatch convenor Carol Araullo says the group has “long given up on the plunder trial” and was not too keen on conviction anymore.

Aug. 29 -- The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that some 6,000 policemen and military troops will be deployed the day the Sandiganbayan hands down its verdict in the plunder and perjury cases, in anticipation of rallies by pro-Estrada groups. Estrada dismisses the plan as an “overkill.”

Sept. 7 -- The Sandiganbayan sets judgment day on Sept. 12.

Compiled by Kate Pedroso, PDI Reasearch
Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Punong Abala

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PostSubject: Re: ERAP Trial Timeline   October 28th 2007, 8:49 pm

Pinawalang sala na po, sinayang lang ang perang ginamit upang mapatunayang nagkasala si ERAP. :(

I don't agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire
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