Accused in the case before the Sandiganbayan Third Division are former justice secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez, his wife Rosario, brother-in-law Ramon Arceo Jr. and business associate Ernest Escaler.
STAR/ File
Nani Perez to stand trial for $2 million extortion
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A civil forfeiture case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against a former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary and several others in 2014 is set to go on trial at the Sandiganbayan over $2 million (roughly P101 million) allegedly extorted from a former Estrada presidential adviser back in 2001.

Accused in the case before the Sandiganbayan Third Division are former justice secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez, his wife Rosario, brother-in-law Ramon Arceo Jr. and business associate Ernest Escaler.

Filed by the ombudsman in 2014, the forfeiture case stemmed from Perez and Escaler’s alleged extortion of $2 million from Mark Jimenez, also known as Mario Crespo, in 2001 in exchange for not forcing him to testify in the plunder case against then president Joseph Estrada.

Jimenez, also a former congressman in Manila, was an Estrada ally and served as the latter’s presidential adviser for Latin American affairs. He died in 2017.

Jimenez, in the course of the ombudsman investigation, reportedly executed a letter of retraction in the extortion anomaly, but the anti-graft body ruled to proceed with the filing of the case, saying that the bank records and money trail show that Perez failed to declare the amount in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2001 and 2002.

It was alleged by the ombudsman that the Perez spouses and Arceo hid their supposed ill-acquired wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

The case has not gone on trial yet as the accused filed motions to compel a former deputy ombudsman to admit several statements that might exonerate them of the case.

In their request for admission and supplemental request for admission, the Perez spouses and Arceo wanted former overall deputy ombudsman Arthur Carandang to admit in court that private complainant Jimenez had already executed an affidavit of desistance before the ombudsman on Oct. 2, 2007.

The Perez couple and Arceo also wanted Carandang to make an admission that EFG Bank Account No. 338118 was closed on Oct. 31, 2001 and from then on, there was no transaction recorded to and from the Swiss bank account.

NANI PEREZ SANDIGANBAYAN
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