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PIA Press Release
2007/09/17

Gov. Barbers: Justice is served on Erap's conviction

by Fryan E. Abkilan

Surigao City (September 17) -- Finally, "Justice is served".

This was the statement of Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Ace S. Barbers on the conviction of former President Joseph Estrada for plunder. Gov. Barbers said this simply proves "that even the highest position in the land should not be spared in the delivery of justice."

The Sandiganbayan Special Division found former President Estrada guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charge of plunder and sentenced him to Reclusion Perpetua. The perjury case against Estrada was however dismissed. The anti-graft court also ordered the freezing of Estrada's accounts estimated to $87 million.

Meantime, Media Association of Surigao (MASU) President, Tirso 'Jun' Clerigo of DXKS said that "Erap's conviction only proves the will of our justice system and violators of the law should be penalized. This is history in the international scene to prove that our country does not allow erring public officials especially those who are holding high position to commit heinous crimes."

However, Board Member Simeon Vicente Castrence of District-I had observed that although prosecution and defense lawyers were able to present all evidences and arguments, BM Castrence could not help but think that the special division was created by virtue of Pres. Arroyo's order hence, the appointed justices' utang na loob and the President's influence can never be set aside in the recent verdict by the Sandiganbayan.

Surigao Lesbian Association (SULA) President, Mila Lisondra in an interview was not satisfied with the verdict. Lisondra said that she is convinced that Erap is the only person convicted of plunder because some people (including those in the government) were afraid of his masa appeal. In her observation, Erap is a threat to the present government. (PIA-Surigao del Norte) [top]

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