‘Erap lawyers bothered by Clarissa testimony’
‘Erap lawyers bothered by Clarissa testimony’
- Delon Porcalla () - August 14, 2005 - 12:00am
Deposed President Joseph Estrada wants to strike the testimony of prosecution star witness Clarissa Ocampo, a senior bank officer who had claimed that Estrada kept a secret bank account believed to used for money laundering, according to Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo.

Estrada is probably "bothered" that the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court might give weight to Ocampo’s testimony that he is also Jose Velarde, an alias Estrada allegedly used while keeping the bank account, Marcelo said.

"If that Jose Velarde account is not Erap’s, then why do they want to strike out the records of Clarissa’s testimony? It only means that they are afraid and they are bothered (about her testimony)," he told The STAR yesterday.

Questions raised by defense lawyers Rene Saguisag and Jose Flaminiano about Ocampo’s December 2000 testimony in Estrada’s aborted impeachment trial being a "fruit of the poisoned tree" in the absence of any subpoena and written permission from the bank owner have already been settled, he stressed.

"Those issues were raised before and the court has already accepted (Ocampo’s testimony). The same thing happened in the impeachment court. That was an exception, cases in impeachment trial are not entitled to bank secrecy laws," Marcelo explained.

Apart from the voluminous bank documents they have gathered as evidence, Marcelo also expressed confidence the special division of the anti-graft court would hand down a guilty verdict on Estrada’s corruption charges, noting that Estrada himself has admitted to being Velarde in the past.

Marcelo cited a February 2002 interview with ABS-CBN reporter Pia Hontiveros, in which Estrada admitted he indeed kept an account under the name Velarde.

"So what’s really the issue? They are just resurrecting dead issues. This is just a rehash. This is just part of the defense team’s dilatory tactics," Marcelo said. Chief Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio made the same observation.

Saguisag earlier urged the court to dismiss the testimonies of Ocampo and Manuel Curato, both officials of the Equitable PCI Bank, because the details they divulged were "volunteered information."

Ocampo and Curato testified that they had witnessed Estrada signing bank documents using the name Jose Velarde in February 2000.

Saguisag, who heads the Estrada defense team, said this testimony was "illegally extracted," arguing that Ocampo and Curato testified in the impeachment court without the benefit of any subpoena from the Senate, which sat as an impeachment tribunal.

BANK CHIEF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR DENNIS VILLA IGNACIO CLARISSA OCAMPO DEPOSED PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA ESTRADA JOSE VELARDE MARCELO OCAMPO OCAMPO AND CURATO OCAMPO AND MANUEL CURATO
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with