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Charlie 'Atong' Ang

January 26, 2007 11:33am
Charlie "Atong" Ang was a close associate of former President Joseph Estrada. He is a co-accused in the plunder case against Estrada, the latter's son Sen. Jose "Jinggoy," and lawyer Edward Serapio.

On January 24, 2007, he withdrew his "not guilty plea" before the Sandiganbayan and admitted that he bribed a public official.

He gained notoriety in 1998 after being seen on a videotape with the then Vice President Estrada at the Casino Filipino at the Heritage Hotel.

During Estrada's term, he became a consultant of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) on jai alai operations. PAGCOR reportedly paid his company, Power Management and Consultancy, P500,000 a day, excluding bonuses.

As Pagcor's "consultant" on Bingo 2-Ball--a legalized form of jueteng--Ang decided to award the Bingo 2-Ball franchise in Ilocos Sur to former Rep. Eric Singson, Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson's cousin and long-time foe. This angered Chavit Singson, who made the Juetengate expose that led to Estrada's downfall.

Ang told a Senate hearing in October 2000 that Prominent Management and Marketing, one of his other companies, is a "consultant" of Pagcor on Bingo 2-Ball.

He became chief executive officer of Fontana Resort and Country Club, which according to Singson is co-owned by Estrada.

He has been known in illegal gambling circles as a masiao operator in Mindanao, according to former PNP chief Roberto Lastimoso.

He fled the country on January 20, 2001, the day Estrada was ousted from Malacañang. Ang reportedly took a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.

He was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 25, 2001 in connection with the Philippine government's request for his extradition.

A year later, he was freed on a $300,000 bail and placed under house arrest.

Judge Lawrence Leavitt of the US District Court in Nevada ruled on September 18, 2006 that Ang should be extradited to the Philippines to face plunder charges against him.

The US State Department reportedly sent a diplomatic note dated October 6, asking the Philippine government to repatriate Ang not later than November 11, 2006.

Atong Ang arrived in Manila in November 10, 2006. He was in handcuffs, escorted by Reynaldo Esmeralda, deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation, whose team fetched Ang in the US.

Sources: PCIJ, GMA News, GMANews.tv, INQ7, PIA, Newsflash.org, Filipino Express, Manila Times
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