A senior bank official stunned the Philippines impeachment court by testifying that President Joseph Estrada signed large bank transactions under a false name in violation of graft laws.
Clarissa Ocampo, a senior vice-president of Equitable P-C-I Bank, said she watched Estrada sign the name Jose Velarde on documents authorizing a 500 million peso (10 million US dollar) investment agreement using money in the bank.
Estrada is charged with bribery, graft, betrayal of public trust and violating the constitution, and a guilty verdict by two-thirds of the 22-member Senate on any of the four counts would force him from office.
0000 UPSOUND: Witness Clarissa Ocampo taking oath
0005 Senior Filipino bank official Clarissa Ocampo was sworn in as a witness in the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada on Friday.
0014 She took the stand to testify on Estrada's alleged dealings with her bank, Equitable P-C-I.
0020 Ocampo told the court she saw President Estrada sign large bank transactions under a false name.
0026 SOUNDBITE: (English)
"(Q Mrs. Ocampo, who signed this signature?) The President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. (Q How far away were you from the President when he affixed the signature of Jose Velarde on each of these three copies of the investment management document?) I was about one foot away."
SUPER CAPTION: Clarissa Ocampo, Senior Vice President, Equitable PCI Bank
0051 After a mass in Manila on Friday, Estrada refused to comment on Ocampo's testimony.
0057 But the prosecution argues that he hid proceeds from graft in a network of bank accounts.
0103 Outside the Philippines Senate building, anti-Estrada protesters called for the president's resignation.
0108 But if he's found guilty by two-thirds of the Senate on any of the four charges he'll be forced from office anyway.
Bribery, graft and conflicts of interest , Trials , Political corruption , Legal proceedings , Impeachments , Legislature , Crime , General news , Law and order , Political issues , Government and politics