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Commentary: Exoneration or conviction

Tacloban City (September 11) -- It is just one sleep before the Sandigan Bayan gives its verdict on the Erap plunder case. After one night, the million dollar question, will it be exoneration or conviction for Erap comes September 12.

Yes, the curtains are coming down on the Estrada legal case on September 12. In 2001, the Ombudsman filed a P4.097 billion plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada.

The plunder case is composed of four charges, accepting money from illegal gambling, and misappropriation of P130 million in tobacco excise tax, collection of P189.7 million commission from the sale of the shares of Belle Corp. and amassing and depositing more than 3 billion in a bank account under the name Jose Velarde.

Named as co-accused are his son Jinggoy Estrada, Charlie "Aton" Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, Eleuterio Tan and Jane Doe alias Delia Rajas. Businessman Jaime Dichaves is later added as a respondent.

The much publicized plunder case trials dragged on until on September 7, the Sandigan Bayan set judgment day on September 12.

Now the Philippine National Police braces as allegedly about 5,000 Erap supporters have secured permits to hold demonstrations in Quezon City and Manila on September 12.

There are rumors that a guilty verdict could spark outrage among Estrada supporters.

What will the verdict be? Exoneration or conviction? Whichever way the case ends, does not really matter. What really matters is for the truth to prevail.

Whatever the verdict will be, what is important is for the Filipino people to put a closure on this highly divisive case and move on for peace and economic progress of the country.

Let justice and the rule of law take their course. Violence and extraordinary measures have no place in this civilized and democratic society. (PIA 8) [top]

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