Estrada to keep home, limousines

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am

An anti-graft court ruled yesterday it would no longer plan to seize the limousines or family home of convicted and pardoned former Philippine president Joseph Estrada, court spokesman Renato Bocar said.

Mr Bocar said the court sheriff had recently discovered bank holdings worth 1.1 billion pesos (HK$210.7 million) held under Mr Estrada's alias, Jose Velarde. This amount was more than enough to satisfy the court ruling that Mr Estrada illegally amassed 734.7 million pesos, he said.

The assets found in the Banco De Oro investment management account were worth 'double' the amount to be forfeited, 'so there is no more need to go against the properties of the former president', he said.

Yesterday's ruling amended an earlier writ, which stated that all of Mr Estrada's property could be levied if he did not pay the amount ordered forfeited by the court. This ruling was issued because only 2,000 pesos were found remaining in one bank deposit under the name Jose Velarde, and 189.7 million pesos in another held by the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation. Erap is Mr Estrada's nickname.

But with the discovery of a second Velarde account, the court modified this ruling as 'it would be an undue deprivation ... if properties acquired prior to his incumbency as president and which cannot be traced to his ill-gotten wealth' were taken.