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PIA Press Release
2007/09/12

Erap verdict a strong warning to corrupt in gov't - Apostol

Manila (12 September) -- Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol said today the conviction of former President Joseph Estrada serves as a strong warning to all holders of public office that the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman are dead serious in going after grafters in government.

In an ambush interview with media at the steps of the New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacaņang shortly after the Sandiganbayan announced its verdict on the Estrada plunder case, Apostol said all government officials and employees are duly warned that they must always follow the straight and narrow path of honest public service or risk the fate of the former President.

"That (guilty verdict) is a good signal to everybody in public office that the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman are not joking. They are ready to prosecute plunder and corruption cases," Apostol said.

"This (verdict) is a very good warning (to all public government workers)," he added.

The Sandiganbayan Special Division on Wednesday found the former President guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charge of plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua at his resthouse in Tanay, Rizal "until further orders."

At the same time, the anti-graft court ordered the freezing of Estrada's accounts estimated at $87 million or P4.089 billion.

The funds, including protection money from illegal gambling operators, embezzled tobacco taxes, and commissions from insider trading, will be "forfeited" in favor of the government, the anti-graft court ruled. (OPS) [top]

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