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PIA Press Release
2007/09/13

Dep. Ombudsman for Mindanao says verdict on Estrada a people's success

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (13 September) -- Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Humprey P. Monteroso has welcomed the decision of the Sandiganbayan on former President Joseph Estrada saying it is actually a success of the people.

In a phone interview at his office in Davao City, DO Monteroso said the Sandiganbayan decision only shows that the justice system in the country is working and that nobody, not even the highest official of the land, is above the law.

"This will serve as a warning to all government officials that they should not commit graft and corruption, otherwise, they will follow and suffer the same fate as that of the former president," he said.

Arriving at a 1,000-page decision, the Sandiganbayan justices, who are known for their integrity, honesty and competence should be commended for thoroughly analyzing the evidence provided by the public and private individuals on the case.

The weight of evidence during the trial leaned heavily on direct positive evidence as against personal denials of wrongdoings and was purely a question of evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

"It was a concerted effort from both the public and the private sectors that showed how serious we are in our fight against graft and corruption in government," Monteroso said.

The anti-graft court found former President Estrada guilty for the crime of plunder beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced him to life imprisonment. However, he is allowed to stay at his rest house in Tanay, Rizal until further order.

Likewise, the court ordered the forfeiture of his Php542.701 million worth of bank accounts including interest, Php189 million worth of Jose Velarde accounts including interest and the so-called Boracay Mansion in New Manila, Quezon City.

Closure has been found in this unprecedented case contrary to the impeachment case filed against the former President which was disrupted when the public prosecutors walked out of the court room.

"The nation can now move on. Filipinos should respect and accept the verdict on this case and be one in the call for sobriety and circumspection ad allow the process of the law to take its course," Monteroso added. (PIA 10) [top]

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