Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Estrada remains in hot water

The third day of impeachment proceedings against Philippinesian President Joseph Estrada opened with a flourish featuring testimony from the government aid that discovered illegal gambling payoffs involving Estrada.

Emma Lim, aid to providential Governor Luis Singson, took the stand yesterday and testified regarding the five million pesos ($100,000) in illegal gambling payoffs garnered from “jueteng” an illegal numbers game. She testified to taking the pesos to Estrada’s personal secretary at the Presidential Palace in March of 1999.

“The money was in a black bag that was like an attache case, I said I was going to see Malou, the secretary of the president. I was let in. They were not strict … I left the bag with Malou,” Lim said. “After I left the bag, I walked away and saw President Estrada standing nearby.”

This was Liam’s second day of testimony, on Friday she testified to receiving payments of one million pesos ($20,000) on three occasions from Estrada’s son Jinggoy Estrada, the mayor of San Juan, a small town in Manila.

Jinggoy Estrada was called to testify later in the trial after being labeled as the regional collector of payoffs from jueteng.

Estrada, who has served as president of the Philippines for two years, came under fire in October when he was accused of accepting bribes of more than 400 million pesos ($8 million) from jueteng and an additional 130 million ($2.3 million) in taxes that was meant to be used as aid to help local tobacco farmers. He is now being tried on charges of betrayal of public trust, gaft and violation of the constitution, all of the charges to which he claims innocence. In order for him to be removed from office a two-thirds majority of the 22 members of Senate is required to remove Estrada from office. The Senate is asking that Estrada step down and resign from his position to save the country from economic troubles.

Controversy has surrounded these proceedings from the very beginning, with yesterday being no exception with arguments surrounding the job that congressmen from the country acting as prosecutors have been doing with their job. The nation’s largest group of lawyers Integrated Bar of the Philippines, called for a change in the prosecution team due to a poor job in their role in the proceedings.

“It’s been bumpy for the prosecution basically,” Senate President Aquilino Pimentel said to CNN.

The group offered its help and suggested that practicing criminal lawyers try the case rather than Congressmen.

“They are lawmakers and are no longer practicing lawyers,” IBP president Arthur Lim said. “They are rusty.”

Although Congressman Sergio Apostol, a prosecutor said that they would accept any tips presented to them about the case, that they already have outside help from private lawyers that are working on the case with nearly 25 attorneys on every faucet of it.

Information from CNN was compiled for this article.

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