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Estrada to Senate: Open 2nd envelope

- Efren Danao -
Ousted President Joseph Estrada formally asked the Senate yesterday to open the second envelope containing details of the controversial Jose Velarde account with the Equitable PCI Bank.

The vote of 11 senators rejecting the opening of the envelope for allegedly not being connected to the impeachment charges triggered people power II that eventually led to the ouster of Estrada.

His communication, however, was sent to the archives, the graveyard of the Senate.

"The impeachment trial is now dead," Sen. Raul Roco said.

He said that the purpose of the impeachment trial was to oust the President.

"With the removal of President Estrada through people power, there is no more reason to reopen the impeachment trial. It has become academic," he said.

Senators Francisco Tatad and Teofisto Guingona added that there is no way the second envelope could be opened since the court is virtually adjourned.

Guingona explained that the impeachment court could only reconvene if the House reconstitutes its panel of prosecutors. All 11 prosecutors resigned after the vote on the second envelope, charging that they could not expect any fair judgment from the Senate.

In a related development, Sen. Renato Cayetano filed yesterday a resolution urging President Arroyo to grant unqualified amnesty to Ilocos Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson, Emma Lim, Carmencita Itchon, Clarissa Ocampo, Manuel Curato and other prosecution witnesses in the impeachment trial.

"These individuals are our modern-day heroes. But in testifying or cooperating with the prosecution, these and other individuals admitted certain acts which may constitute violations of the Revised Penal Code, the law on plunder, the law on secrecy of bank deposits and other special laws," he said.

Cayetano noted that "the courageous and patriotic acts of these individuals brought about people power II."

"Amnesty is generally granted to political offenders, but due to the indispensable and heroic role of the proposed grantees, the same may be given to them in recognition of their courageous stand against former President Estrada without considering their personal safety," he added.

CARMENCITA ITCHON CLARISSA OCAMPO EMMA LIM ILOCOS GOV JOSE VELARDE MANUEL CURATO OUSTED PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA PRESIDENT ARROYO PRESIDENT ESTRADA RAUL ROCO
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