The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS


THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

DAY 1

7 December 2000

The impeachment trial of Joseph Ejercito Estrada began. Read the opening statements of the prosecution and defense panels. For the prosecution, opening statements were made by Reps. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Sergio Apostol, Joker Arroyo, Raul Gonzales and Wigberto Tanada. For the defense, opening statements were made by lawyers Andres Narvasa and Estelito Mendoza. Narvasa's statement is marked by showing a parallelism between Erap and Julius Caesar. Mendoza responded to each of the four Articles.

The prosecution began presenting its witnesses namely, former Police Director General Roberto Lastimoso and alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte.

The prosecution established that President Estrada met with Lastimoso and Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson in Malacanang. In that meeting, the President told Lastimoso to coordinate with Singson regarding jueteng operations. This essentially was the direct testimony of Lastimoso

The defense was able to begin cross examination of Lastimoso. On cross examination, defense lawyer Seigfred Fortun showed a photo copy of a memorandum issued by Lastimoso when he was still the top gun of the Philippine National Police, directing all police officials to stamp out jueteng in Luzon.

DAY 2

8 December 2000

On December 8, the second day of trial, former Police Director General Roberto Lastimoso again took the witness stand on re-direct examination by Rep. Libarios. Libarios established that the memorandum presented on cross examination was issued by Lastimoso prior to his Malacanang meeting with the President and Governor Singson.

On the same day, Presidential Assistant Anton Prieto was called to the witness stand. The prosecution sought to establish that Prieto was involved in jueteng activities in behalf of the President. Here, there was a long discussion on whether Prieto should be considered an adverse witness or a hostile witness.

Another witness for the prosecution, Emma Lim was called to testify. Lim is an employee of Governor Singson. She testified that she collected jueteng money from Presidential son and San Juan Mayor Jinggoy Estrada, one Bong Pineda, and alleged big time jueteng operator in Pampanga, and Anton Prieto.

Meanwhile, before the court adjourned the Presiding Officer Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., scheduled a lunch meeting with prosecutors and defense lawyers in order to discuss ways to avoid any unwarranted delays in the proceedings.

DAY 3

11 December 2000

Prosecution witness Emma Lim continued with her testimony on direct examination. She testified that she personally delivered P5-million to Malacanang. She told the court that she handed over the cash to a certain "Malou," said to be the President's Secretary.

Also presented in the impeachment court were duplicate copies of deposit slips which indicated certain check deposits. According to Lim, these deposits were derived from checks issued by Anton Prieto. Lim said these were part of the jueteng remittances for the President.

On cross examination, Lim admitted that all her activities relating to jueteng collections were upon the orders of her employer, Governor Luis Chavit Singson.

Back to the witness stand was retired Police Deputy Director General Roberto Lastimoso, on re-cross examination. The defense presented memorandum and letters bearing the signatures of Lastimoso. In these documents, Lastimoso wrote about the PNP's campaign against illegal gambling, particularly jueteng in Luzon.

The third witness of the day was Francisco Yap, Jr., President of the Philippine Clearing House Corp. The prosecution presented six checks amounting to P200-million. Yap testified that all of Equitable Bank checks pass through the clearing operations of the Philippine Clearing House. He said their office has microfilm copies of such checks.

DAY 4

12 December 2000

Francisco Yap, Jr., President of Philippine Clearing House Corp., continued with his testimony on direct, and later, cross examination. Yap testified that it stuck him as unusual for a bank to encash millions of pesos worth of checks ( a total of six checks) in a single day.

The next witness for the prosecution was broadcaster Miriam "Twink" Macaraig-Esteban of Channel News Asia. Twink re-lived the November 10 press conference of President Estrada upon the invitation of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP). The prosecution presented written excerpts of the press conference, as transcribed by Twink Macaraig herself. The excerpts related to President Estrada's answers to questions about the alleged bribe offer by Governor Chavit Singson, as well as the President's gambling activities, among others.

After Macaraig's testimony, Prosecutor Oscar Moreno reported to the impeachment court that Equitable-PCI Bank did not obey a subpoena earlier issued by the court to inspect certain bank records, invoking the Republic Act 1405, known as the Bank Secrecy Law.

A discussion later ensued between the prosecution and defense, when the latter raised the fact that there was no valid notice given to them regarding the subpoena.

Senate President Nene Pimentel, asked the Presiding Officer to direct the responsible officers of Equitable-PCI Bank to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt for disobeying a lawful order of the court.

DAY 5

13 December 2000

The prosecution called another witness, Menchu Itchon. She is a secretary of Governor Luis Chavit Singson. She linked alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte to President Estrada. She testified that she accompanied Ricaforte to Malacanang where the latter delivered some documents. Itchon also said that President Estrada is behind the setting up of a casino called Fontainbleau. Jueteng money was used to build the casino, Itchon added.

The prosecution later presented its principal witness, Governor Luis Chavit Singson. Singson, considered an erstwhile member of President's inner circle of friends, testified that he personally delivered jueteng collections for President Estrada. Singson's testimony heavily dealt with the controversial ledger which scribbled in detail jueteng pay-off and collections. Chavit Singson reiterated his testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. But this time, it was more detailed.

Before Chavit Singson began his testimony, the defense lawyers vehemently objected to the prosecution's move to allow a private prosecutor to conduct the direct examination of Singson. After spirited debates, the Presiding Officer allowed the private prosecutor to participate, without prejudice to undertaking further discussions on the matter at a more appropriate time.

DAY 6

14 December 2000

Today's hearing began with the scheduled arguments by the prosecution and defense panels on the issue as to whether or not the court should allow inspection of certain bank records. The prosecution claimed allowing them to inspect bank documents would help them in proving their case against the President

Meanwhile the defense strongly opposed the inspection of such records as this is not part of the allegations in the Articles of Impeachment. The Presiding Officer ordered both panels to submit their written memoranda within the next eighteen hours.

Later the prosecution presented witness Menchu Itchon, a secretary of Governor Luis Chavit Singson. She presented cell-phone bills of Fontainbleau, the corporation allegedly fronting for President Estrada. These bills showed various calls made from the cellular phone used by alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte. The calls, according to the witness, were made on the Presidential Residence, and on the phones of Presidential son Jinggoy Estrada, the President's personal lawyer Edward Serapio, and alleged bigtime gambling lord Bong Pineda.

On cross examination, the defense was able to show that Itchon has closed filial ties with Governor Singson. Two of Itchon's siblings were married to two siblings of Governor Singson.

Thereafter, Governor Chavit Singson was brought back to the witness stand on direct examination. He continued with his detailed explanation of the controversial ledger which showed an accounting of jueteng collections and pay off. Singson also testified that he was dissuaded by the President's children and top lieutenants from coming out with his expose.

DAY 7

15 December 2000

Today's hearing opened with Senator-judge Miriam Santiago exploding. In a speech, she protested the holding of a picket in front of her residence in Quezon City. She claims this constitutes indirect contempt, as the picket was staged against a judge.

Prosecution star witness Governor Luis Chavit Singson continued with his direct testimony. He made additional revelations. Singson said he issued a check amounting to P2-million upon the instructions of President Estrada. This check was given to a former beauty queen.

Singson said Estrada lent his friend William Gatchalian P62-million. But Estrada allegedly asked P70-million as payment, thus earning P8-million. The money lent by Estrada came from jueteng collections, Singson said. The witness also testified that the President's son Jinggoy Estrada participated in collecting jueteng money without the knowledge of the President. Singson testified he delivered jueteng collections for President Estrada in the presence of Guia Gomez, one of Estrada's mistresses, and their son JV.

Presiding Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., gave an order which allowed the prosecution to inspect certain bank documents. These documents were earlier sealed and placed in the custody of the Senate following vehement objections by the defense against any examination of documents which are immaterial to the allegations.

Senator John Osmena raised the question on the possibility of subjecting an order or directive of the Presiding Officer to a vote by the entire membership of the impeachment court, as provided in the Rules on Impeachment.

Senate President Nene Pimentel scheduled a lunch-caucus on Monday to tackle the matter.

DAY 8

18 December 2000

Another Senator "exploded" in today's impeachment trial. After leading the Senate gallery in prayer, Senator Teresita Aquino-Oreta blasted House Prosecutor Clavel Asas Martinez for issuing statements to media claiming that some Senators met with defense lawyers in Malacanang. Oreta's name was mentioned as one of the senators who reportedly attended the said meeting. Oreta asked the impeachment court to cite Representative Martinez for contempt.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, whose name was also mentioned as among those who met with defense lawyers in Malacanang, joined Oreta in her move to cite Martinez for contempt.

The Presiding Officer deferred the opening of the controversial Equitable bank documents which are presently sealed under Senate custody. The Presiding Officer gave the senators time to review the records in the trial so they could take appropriate responses to the earlier directive to allow the inspection of the said bank documents.

The Prosecution called on the witness stand broadcaster Jay Sonza. The witness earlier interviewed President Joseph Estrada on November 9 and 13 in connection with the jueteng scandal. The prosecution presented extracts of the radio interview with President Estrada.

Later, Ms. Annie Ngo, a Vice President of Equitable Bank was called to the witness stand to testify on matters relating to the opening of certain accounts by alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte in the said bank.

DAY 9

19 December 2000

In today's hearing Annie Ngo, the 1st vice President of Equitable PCI Bank was cross-examined. It was pointed out that Ngo never met alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte and that she is not personally familiar with the signature of Ricaforte. Witness admitted that she has no personal knowledge of the opening of the accounts of Ricaforte in Equitable Bank.

The prosecution later presented another witness, Edelquinn Nandes, manager of Equitable-PCI Bank Timog branch. Witness testified that alleged jueteng auditor Ricaforte opened an account in Timog Branch on September 1, 1999. Ricaforte signed the savings signature card in the presence of the witness.

On cross-examination, witness admitted that the deposit of Ricaforte in the Equitable Timog Branch was initially opened by a check issued by Governor Singson.

Principal witness Governor Luis Chavit Singson went back to the witness stand to testify on Article II which charges President Estrada of committing graft and corruption. Singson testified that when he was congressman, he authored a law that provides that 15% of the excise taxes on cigarettes will be given to Virginia tobacco producing provinces, including his home province of Ilocos Sur.

After President Estrada was elected, P200-million was released by the Budget Department for this purpose. But Singson claimed that Estrada asked P130-million for himself.

Singson testified that the money was released to Ilocos Sur, but was channeled to a branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong. There, three persons allegedly withdrew the money.

Singson testified that he accompanied Charlie Atong Ang, a close friend of President Estrada to the latter's home in Greenhills where the P130-million was handed over to President Estrada, his wife Loi Ejercito and their son Mayor Jinggoy Estrada. Singson said that Atong Ang gave the money to the President, his wife and son, but only after pocketing P25-milion for himself.

DAY 10

20 December 2000

It was a suspense-packed hearing today when the controversial Equitable-PCI Bank documents relating to the account of one Jose Velarde were inspected in open court. The opening of the sealed envelope containing bank records came following the withdrawal by the defense of its intention to file a Motion for Reconsideration to the order of the Presiding Officer directing the opening of said sealed envelopes.

The sealed brown enveloped contained two specimen cards of Jose Velarde, the person who issued a P142-million check to Jose Sel Yulo, a close friend of President Estrada. The money was used to buy the so-called "Boracay" mansion.

Also contained inside the sealed envelope were twelve pages bank statements of the account of Jose Velarde. The prosecution manifested that the signatures in the specimen cards were "radically different" from the signature of the controversial P142-million check.

Later, the prosecution presented the former President of Clark Development Corporation Rufo Colayco. He narrated the circumstances surrounding the construction of a casino called Fontainbleau which has been alleged to have been funded through jueteng money.

The witness however admitted that he has no knowledge as to the truth regarding the allegations that jueteng money was used to construct the casino in Clark.

DAY 11

21 December 2000

The prosecution today presented five branch managers of Equitable-PCI Bank. These managers testified that alleged jueteng auditor Yolanda Ricaforte opened a total of 31 bank accounts in six branches of Equitable-PCI Bank.

The money deposited in these banks have been suspected to be sourced from jueteng collections for President Joseph Estrada. The total money involved in these bank transactions amounted to no less than P200-million.

The managers who testified were Rosario Bautista of the Diliman-Matalino branch, Shakira Yu of the Pedro-Gil-Robinsons branch, Vergel Pabilon of TM Kalaw branch, Edgardo Alcaraz of Timog-Scout Tobias branch and Emma Gonzales of Isadora Hills branch.

The prosecution sought to present how jueteng money was laundered in these banks through Ricaforte's accounts with Equitable PCI Bank.

It was noted that when Ricaforte withdrew money from the banks, she asked that cashier's checks be issued "payable to cash."

DAY 12

22 December 2000

The prosecution today presented a "surpise" witness, who unleashed a "bombsell" before an impeachment court that was already looking forward to a weeklong Christmas break.

The witness was Clarissa Ocampo, Senior Vice President of Equitable-PCI Bank. Ocampo testified that the mysterious bank client "Jose Velarde" and President Joseph Estrada are one and the same person.

She said that she was one foot away from Mr. Estrada when the latter signed the name "Jose Velarde" on bank documents which were needed to open accounts with the bank. She said this happened in Malacanang.

Ocampo's testimony before the impeachment court was met with stern objections by the defense panel. The defense claimed that it was most unfair for the prosecution to stage "surprise" attacks during the hearing.

Earlier, the Presiding Officer had left it to the Senator-judges to decide whether or not to allow the witness to testify. Once again, the Senator-judges rose to the ocassion and unanimously decided to allow Ocampo to testify.

The court will meet again on January 2, 2001, where the defense is scheduled to cross-examine Ocampo.

DAY 13

2 January 2001

Trial resumed today with the Presiding Officer reiterating his ruling that at this stage of the proceedings, the prosecution shoulders the burden of presenting evidence that the P500-million account of Jose Velarde at the Equitable-PCI Bank was ill-gotten.

Later, prosecution witness Clarissa Ocampo came back to the witness stand to continue her direct examination. Ocampo, Senior Vice President of Equitable-PCI Bank had testified that President Joseph Estrada signed the name "Jose Velarde" in a trust account with the bank.

The defense did not cross examine Ocampo. But she was subjected to intense questioning by Senator-judges. In the course of the interrogation, she revealed that there was an attempt to assign the trust account of Jose Velarde to a certain Jaime Dichaves, said to be a close friend of President Estrada.

Ocampo revealed that some documents were signed in the office of defense counsel Estelito Mendoza. Mendoza, on the other hand, manifested before the court that he was not present, and had no knowledge about the signing of the bank papers. Ocampo said the assignment did not materialize because the principal did not give any signed authority to go ahead with the assignment.

Later, lawyer Manuel Curato, First Vice President of Equitable-PCI Bank for Legal Affairs took the witness stand and corroborated the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo. He said he too, was present when President Estrada signed the name "Jose Velarde" in Malacanang.

DAY 14

3 January 2001

Key prosecution witness Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson came under intense cross examination by defense counsel Estelito Mendoza.

Lasting more than five hours, Singson was grilled on his expose that President Joseph Ejercito Estrada was receiving millions of pesos from collections derived from jueteng, an illegal numbers game. Mendoza's questions were focused on the supposed ledger which showed a detailed accounting to whom jueteng money was given.

Singson is also a main witness for the prosecution on Article II of the Articles of Impeachment which charges the President of committing graft and corruption. He had testified that President Estrada received kickbacks from the proceeds of excise tobacco taxes for Ilocos. Under cross examination, the defense pointed out that Singson signed official documents leading to the disbursement of the tobacco funds released by Malaca¤ang.

After Singson acknowledged affixing his signatures on disbursement papers, the defense plucked a copy of an oath of office whereby elected officials, like the Governor Singson had sworn to uphold the laws.

Later, the prosecution presented another witness, 27 year old lawyer Jasmin Banal, a former law associate of the De Borja Law Firm. Banal said the President's personal lawyer Edward Serapio was one of the founders of the firm. Banal began testified that she was made to sign the incorporation papers of a company which the prosecution claims to be a dummy company for the President. Prosecutor Roan Libarios conducted the direct examination.

DAY 15

4 January 2001

The prosecution resumed the direct examination of lawyer Jasmine Banal. Banal testified that she signed as one of the incorporators of two companies, namely Pio Holding Corp., and Alexei Holding Corp. She also signed blank Deeds of Assignment that would transfer her rights in these two firms.

On cross examination, defense counsel Estelito Mendoza elicited from the witness that law associates signing as incorporators in behalf of clients is a normal practice.

What stole the show in this episode was when the impeachment court barred three spectators from attending the impeachment proceedings for displaying a kind of behavior which is not in accordance with the conduct and decorum allowed by the Senate rules.

Upon the insistence of Senator Miriam Santiago, the court, after a caucus, decided to bar the three spectators who were identified as private complainants of the impeachment case. They were Dante Jimenez, Bettina Aboitiz and Rosanna Tuazon-Fores.

The second witness called by the prosecution was lawyer Emily Padua, management head of Entertainment and Bingo Department of the Philippine Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

The witness was made to testify on the agreement entered into between Pagcor and Prominent Management Corporation. Prominent was hired as consultant in bingo game matters. Pagcor had been eyeing the operations of a game called Bingo II Ball which was designed to directly compete with illegal jueteng.

In the course of the testimony of Padua, Senator-judge John Osmeña pointed out that a microphone connected to one of the television cameras was placed near his seat. He raised the possibility that the television stations might be able to eavesdrop private conversations of senators. The cameraman of the t.v. station concerned was placed on the witness stand to answer queries of the senator-judges. But Senate President Aquilino Pimentel said that it would be better to call to a meeting the executives of the t.v. station the following day.

DAY 16

5 January 2001

The prosecution today presented the following witnesses:

  1. Elizabeth Balagot, manager of Land bank of the Philippines, Vigan branch;

  2. Lorena Flores, manager of Land Bank of the Philippines, Malacanang branch;

  3. Ma. Caridad Rodenas, manager of the Land bank of the Philippines, Shaw Boulevard branch;

  4. Gwen Samontina, Assistant Vice President and Head of the Records and the Information Management Center at the Social Security System;

  5. Eleanor Madrid, head of the licensing section of the Land Transportation Office.

The branch managers of the Land bank were presented in order to establish the trail of bank documents that would show how the P130-million proceeds of the excise tobacco taxes for Ilocos Sur ended up being withdrawn by private persons from the Shaw Boulevard branch of Land Bank.

Gwen Samontina testified that a certain Delia Rajas, said to be one of three persons who withdrew part of the P130-million, is an employee of Power Management and Consultancy, Inc, a corporation owned and managed by Charlie "Atong" Ang.

Eleanor Madrid of the LTO testified that they have records of Jose Victor Tan Uy, who is also known as Eleuterio Tan. Tan is also reported to be one of three persons who withdrew part of the P130-million from the bank.

In the course of the days proceedings, a Metrobank check amounting to eight million pesos was floated. The check drawn by Iloco Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson was alleged to have been deposited in the account of First Lady Loi Ejercito.

DAY 17

8 January 2001

In today's hearing, Delia Rajas showed up before the impeachment court. The name Delia Rajas has been a controversial name since the investigations of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The name Delia Rajas was the one used by a person who withdrew part of the P130-million from Land Bank Shaw Boulevard branch. This amount was allegedly diverted from Ilocos Sur.

However the Delia Rajas that appeared in court today is a cook of the mother of close Presidential friend Charlie "Atong" Ang. Claiming to be the real Delia Rajas, she said she has absolutely nothing to do with the withdrawal of millions of diverted funds from Land Bank.

The manager of the Land Bank Shaw branch, Ma. Caridad Rodenas, seemed to validate this as she said the Delia Rajas that popped out in court today was not the one she met in August 1998, who withdrew millions of pesos in cash from the bank.

But defense lawyer Sigfried Fortun is in hot water for trying to mislead the court, according to some senators. Senators cried foul against Fortun's "dirty tricks." Some senators claim Fortun led them to believe that the Delia Rajas, the one who withdrew the money was present in court.

When the land bank branch manager Rodenas was made to roam the gallery to find the Rajas, naturally she could not find her because the Delia Rajas present in court was the houshelp, whom Rodenas had never met. How then could she have identified the Rajas who withdrew from Land Bank, senators asked.

Another witness presented today was lawyer Ferdinand Sales, from the Securities and Exchange Commission. He testified on the articles of incorporation of Prominent Consultant Group Inc., the corporation that was awarded by the Pagcor the Bingo II Ball project.

DAY 18

9 January 2001

The prosecution presented Ruben Almadro, former head of the compliance and surveillance group of the Philippine Stock Exchange. Almadro headed the group that investigated the alleged stock manipulation by BW Resources Corp. BW is controlled by Dante Tan, a close friend of the President.

In his testimony, Almadro said he personally relayed to the President the stock manipulation by BW Resources. Instead, the President told them that his friend Dante Tan told him that the latter had already "fixed" the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Perfecto Yasay, so that the SEC would clear BW of any wrongdoing.

Another witness presented was Victor Lim, Vice President of Citibank Corp. The witness was asked to testify in connection with an eight million peso check drawn by Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Singson which allegedly ended up in the account of First Lady Loi Ejercito at Citibank.

Lim testified that the bank had tried to ask the first lady for the source of the P8-million check that was deposited in her account on October 4, 1999.

DAY 19

10 January 2001

When the impeachment hearing began, Senator-judge Renato Cayetano took the podium and delivered a privilege speech. He denounced the black propaganda against him, accusing the President of being the one behind the campaign to discredit him. He threw his own accusation against President Estrada saying the President intervened in the Vizconde murder case and had sought Cayetano's help in acquitting the accused in the case.

Lawyer Ruben Almadro, former head of the Compliance and Surveillance Group of the Philippine Stock Exchange was called back to the witness stand for cross examination.

On cross examination, defense counsel pointed out that in making its report, the CSG investigators did not call Dante Tan of BW Resources to explain his side.

Next to take the witness stand was Jose Luis Yulo, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Stock Exchange. He occupied the position from May 1997 to April 2000.

Yulo testified that at the height of the BW scandal, when he was head of PSE, he was called by President Joseph Estrada who, in those occasions, told him that Dante Tan, who controlled BW Resources Corp., was a good friend. The President told him that Dante tan was merely a victim of the stock manipulations at the stock market.

During the hearing the Senate President, after a caucus with the senator-judges, issued an "advisory to all counsels, both of the prosecution and of the defense, as well as to all witnesses, either already testifying or will be testifying in this impeachment trial to refrain from discussing the merits of the impeachment case before any public forum in accordance with the mid-trial conference agreement that was reached by counsels of both parties on January 8 of the year 2001 at the Office of the Senate President."

DAY 20

11 January 2001

Today, Senator-judge Juan Ponce Enrile moved to strike from the records of the impeachment court the privilege speech of Senator-judge Renato Cayetano. Cayetano opposed the motion. Senator-judge Vicente Sotto III then moved to have the matter taken up in the Senate as a legislative body.

Prosecution witness former Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) president and CEO Jose Luis Yulo then answered clarificatory questions from the senator-judges.

The prosecution called as its next witness Yulo's executive assistant at the PSE, Mary Anne Corpuz. However, her testimony was dispensed with after the prosecution and defense entered into a stipulation.

Prosecution then called its next witness, journalist Emeterio Perez of the Daily Tribune. This witness testified he was present when former SEC Chair Perfecto Yasay talked with the President on the phone.

Former Finance Secretary Edgardo Espiritu was called as the next witness. Espiritu testified that the President had told him that he reaped huge profits with Best World (BW) Resources when its share price was rising. Espiritu said that Dante Tan, who controlled BW Resources Corp., had said the President was his partner.

Former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Perfecto Yasay Jr. then took the witness stand. In his testimony, Yasay revealed that the President wanted him removed because he was a hindrance to the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.-Metro Pacific deal. Yasay said the President introduced Dante Tan to him in Malacanang as a very good friend.

DAY 21

12 January 2001

During the continuation of his direct testimony, witness Edgardo Espiritu, former Finance Secretary, explained that it was through the behest of President Estrada that persuaded the Philippine National Bank (PNB) to approve the P600-million loan of BW Resources despite the fact that it failed to comply with the requirements set forth by law in the granting of loans.

When asked why he testified, Espiritu replied it was "for God and country."

Later, Perfecto Yasay, former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission was called back to the witness stand to continue his direct testimony. Yasay testified that on September 13, 1999, he received Memorandum No. 73 from President Estrada requiring the Prosecution and Enforcement Department (PED) of the SEC to desist or halt the on-going investigation on the BW Resources in relation to the stock market scandal.

Witness further explained that he was called at least five (5) times by President Estrada, the last of which was on November 18, 1999 insisting that Mr. Dante Tan be cleared from any wrongdoing in the price manipulation because he (Tan) was more of a victim than perpetrator of the BW Resources scam.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation