Analysts believe fatal flaw in strategy caused Erap's guilty verdict
Manila (14 September) -- In the aftermath of the promulgation of one of the most celebrated cases in Philippine political history, a number of people were asking, "Why Erap was convicted?"
University of the East (UE) law school dean Amado Valdez believes that ex-President Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada was found 'guilty' by the SandiganBayan for his plunder case because of a fatal flaw in the strategy of the defense.
For Valdez, Estrada's defense lawyers appealed more to the public than to the court's reasoning. "They focused on propaganda. They thought the court would eventually follow what they wanted the people to believe – that everything was just part of a big political conspiracy and Estrada was the hero being trampled on by those out to get him. But in the end, the lawyers' (of Erap) strategy backfired."
For his part, veteran defense lawyer Teddy Te said "the strange thing for me was they (Erap's camp) fought so hard to have the proceedings televised and yet they (Erap's lawyers) asked for a reading of only the dispositive portion." Thus, contradicting claims that the former president was convicted with haste.
Te adds that "if Estrada really wants to go down as a hero of the masses, don't appeal (the case). Serve out your 40 years."
The anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan, carried out its guilty verdict against the former Chief Executive after facts involving the amount of more or less P540M collected from 'jueteng' operations from November 1998 to August 2000 – of which P200M was deposited for the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation, Inc., the SSS and GSIS funds that were diverted to buying Belle Shares, and among others were proven during the course of the controversial trial that lasted for six years. (PIA-MMIO) [top]