Erap’s former economic adviser convicted
February 21, 2010 12:00 AM
The Philippine Star
ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines – A Regional Trial Court judge here has sentenced an economic adviser of former President Joseph Estrada to 20 years imprisonment for smuggling.
In a 58-page decision, Judge Gregorio de la Peña III found Lepeng Wee guilty of smuggling 39 drums of prohibited chemicals. Also convicted were accomplices Nancy Lim and Malaysian Tan Nge Foo. Lepeng was presidential assistant for Western Mindanao economic affairs during the Estrada administration.
The court has also ordered the immediate deportation of Tan who has been in jail here for six years. Lim is at large.
“I was really saddened by the court’s decision and could not believe (the conviction) despite my plea of innocence. We will appeal this and hopefully will get justice,” he said after the court issued the decision last Friday.
“Some of the lawyers and prosecutors were even surprised,” he said, adding that politics might be behind the decision and that his lawyers would appeal the conviction.
Lourdes Mangaoang, then Customs District Collector, filed the case against Lepeng and his accomplices in 2000. – Roel Pareño