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P1-billion alleged Erap fund discovered in Banco de Oro

January 10, 2008 1:39pm
‘THEY CAN HAVE IT,’ Estrada tells Sandigan

Former president Joseph Estrada has denied a report linking him to a P1-billion Jose Velarde funds that had been discovered at the Banco de Oro (BDO), GMA’s 24-Oras reported Thursday evening.

“Wala akong pakialam diyan. Lahat naman ng Jose Velarde account ay pag-aari ni Jaime Dichaves (I have nothing to do with that bank account. All Jose Velarde accounts belong to Jaime Dichaves)," Estrada said in an interview.

“Lahat ng kay Jose Velarde kunin na nila (They can have the Jose Velarde accounts)," he added. -GMANews.TV

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2nd Velarde account falls

It seems that the diligent efforts of Sheriff Edgardo Urieta have paid off.

As early as 2002, the sheriff had served notice on what is now a P1-billion jackpot for the Sandiganbayan.

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(Updated 11:17 p.m.) More than P1 billion worth of suspected assets of former President Joseph Estrada has been discovered intact at Banco De Oro and is now being eyed for forfeiture by the Sandiganbayan.

This was contained in a two-page update report submitted Thursday by Edgardo Urieta, chief of the Sheriff and Security Services Office.

Urieta's report was based on a 13-page Banco de Oro report sent to the Sandiganbayan Special Division.

Attached to Urieta's report was a December 14, 2007 letter of lawyer Gerardo I. Banzon, head of the bank's legal advisory and research department.

In it, Banzon confirmed that the stock investments and trust deposits remain intact to date.

The amount covers P500 million listed under 'promissory note and chattel mortgage'; 450 million shares of Waterfront Philippines with an estimated value of P427.5 million (based on Jan. 9 price at P0.95 per share); and 300 million shares of Wellex Industries worth some P84 million (based on Jan. 9 price of P0.28 per share).

It also covers cash deposits in a common trust fund investment account amounting to P95.76 million which will mature on July 25, 2008.

The total amount in the stock investments and trust deposits is estimated at P1.107 billion.

Banzon said nobody touched the assets because of a constructive distraint order was imposed by Lilian B. Hefti, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, dating back to January 29, 2001.

The order was addressed to the president of the Equitable-PCI Bank which had housed the controversial Jose Velarde account which is said to be owned by Estrada.

The E-PCI Bank was later acquired by Banco de Oro.

A distraint order is slapped on certain properties as a means of recovery or indemnification of an aggrieved party.

In her 2001 letter, Hefti specifically identified the said properties as part of the assets of "Joseph Ejercito Estrada a.k.a . Jose Velarde and Kelvin Garcia."

She said the order was issued 'to protect the interest of the government… to prevent them (Estrada family) from dissipating or conveying their properties without authority from this Office (BIR).'

The Sandiganbayan found Estrada guilty of plunder last Sept. 12, and sentenced him to up to 40 years in prison.

The next month, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo granted him executive clemency.

On Nov. 25, the Sandiganbayan ordered the seizure of the ill-gotten wealth of Estrada in a two-page writ of execution.

The amount under contention involves about P735 million in bank deposits as well as the run-down "Boracay Mansion" in New Manila, Quezon City.

This excludes, however, "interest and income earned" that the antigraft court also sought to recover.- GMANews.TV