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Monday, 8 January, 2001, 19:20 GMT
Mrs Estrada faces bribe claims
Estrada with his wife
Estrada's wife Luisa was said to have received money
The wife of Philippine President Joseph Estrada also received money from gambling pay-offs, the president's impeachment trial heard on Monday.

The accusation comes after a prosecutor said the president's mistresses held bigger bank accounts than that of the first lady.

The president has been charged with receiving more than $8m in bribes from operators of a game called jueteng in the trial, which began last month.

Officials said on Monday that the Senate trial may hand down its verdict by 12 February to allow legislators to concentrate on congressional elections.

Prosecutors agreed on Monday to wrap up their testimony by 19 January while defence lawyers said they would finish theirs 10 days later.

Wife 'will testify'

Prosecutor Oscar Moreno said a cheque for $160,000 was received by Mr Estrada and deposited into an account held by his wife Luisa, known as "Loi".

President Estrada in church
Mr Estrada denies the charges
Presidential spokesman Michael Toledo said that Mrs Estrada was willing to give testimony to the trial on the issue if lawyers requested it.

"She is willing [to testify] but this again is upon the advice by counsel," he said.

Earlier, prosecutor Joker Arroyo said Mr Estrada's mistresses, Laarni Enriquez and Guia Gomez, had "bigger running balances" than his wife.

The prosecution has alleged throughout the trial that Mr Estrada used some of the illegal funds he received to buy a mansion for one of his mistresses.

Surprising testimony

Earlier, the trial heard the surprising testimony of a woman who countered claims by prosecutors that she helped to divert state funds to Mr Estrada.

The woman, who was brought by the defence team, told the court she was the "real Delia Rajas".

She said while the prosecution's claim that she was an employee of Charlie "Atong" Ang - a businessman friend of the president - was true, she was only a cook and had never been to the bank where withdrawals were allegedly made.

If found guilty by a two-thirds vote in the Senate, Mr Estrada will be removed from office.

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See also:

04 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada trial hears of bogus firms
04 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Manila bombings: 17 held
03 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada accuser stands firm
03 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada denies cover-up charges
22 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Surprise witness stuns Estrada trial
22 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pressure mounts on Estrada to testify
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