PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JOSEPH ESTRADA AND SANDIGANBAYAN
Whether the Sandiganbayan erred in holding that the use of alias by respondent Estrada was not public, was allowable under banking rules, and was an exception to illegal use of alias punishable under CA 142; in limiting the coverage of the amended Information in Criminal Case 26565; and in departing from its earlier final finding on the non-applicability of Ursua v. Court of Appeals
1) To determine if the use of Estrada’s alias violates CA No. 142.and violates the Bank Secrecy Law or RA 1405. 2) To be able to identify the legal effects and remedies in using of aliases. 3) To be able to determine the factors that would qualify if the use of aliases is for public or otherwise. 4) To be able to scrutinize on the Information that was presented before indictment of an individual. 5) To determine whether Ursua vs. CA case is applicable in this case.
III. Areas of Consideration
A. Major Facts
Crim. Case No. 26558. On April 4, 2001, an Information for plunder was filed with the Sandiganbayan against respondent Estrada, among other accused.
Crim. Case No. 26565, = a separate Information for illegal use of alias, docketed as was likewise filed against Estrada. The Amended Information in Crim. Case No. 26565 reads:
That on or about 04 February 2000, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the City of Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then President of the Republic of the Philippines, without having been duly authorized, judicially or administratively, taking advantage of his position and committing the offense in relation to office, i.e., in order to CONCEAL THE ill-gotten wealth HE ACQUIRED during his tenure and his true identity as THE President of the Republic of the Philippines, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally REPRESENT HIMSELF AS ‘JOSE VELARDE’ IN SEVERAL TRANSACTIONS AND use and employ the SAID alias “Jose Velarde” which IS neither his registered name at birth nor his baptismal name, in signing documents with Equitable PCI Bank and/or other corporate entities.
Crim. Case No. 26905 = another separate information for perjury was filed with the Sandiganbayan against Estrada.
Estrada was subsequently arrested on the basis of a warrant of arrest that the Sandiganbayan issued.
January 11, 2005 ordered the creation of a Special Division in the Sandiganbayan to try, hear, and decide the charges of plunder and related cases (illegal use of alias and perjury) against respondent Estrada.
Summary of the evidence for the illegal use of alias charge by Sandiganbayan:
1. On February 4, 2000- Estrada opened a numbered trust account (Trust Account C-163) with PCIB and signed as “Jose Velarde” in the account opening documents; - based on the testimonies given by Clarissa G. Ocampo (Ocampo) and Atty. Manuel Curato (Curato) of Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB) and both Ocampo and Curato also testified that Aprodicio Lacquian and Fernando Chua were present on that occasion;
2. Teresa Barcelan PCIB-Greenhills Branch Manager
- who declared that a certain Baby Ortaliza (Ortaliza) transacted several times with her; that Ortaliza deposited several checks in PCIB Savings Account No. 0160-62502-5 under the account name “Jose Velarde” on the following dates (as evidenced by deposit receipts duly marked in evidence.
o Documents duly identified by witnesses showing that Lucena Ortaliza was employed in the Office of the Vice President and, later on, in the Office of the President when Estrada occupied these positions and when deposits were made to the Jose Velarde Savings Account No. 0160-62502-5....