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Elderly Pinay in fake US$50 million check case to stand trial

20 November 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

The elderly Filipina tourist accused of trying to cash a fake US$50 million check at Hang Seng Bank two years ago will face trial, after all.

This was after District Court Judge Ernest Lee decided on Nov. 20 to ignore an application to stay the trial on the ground that 76-year-old defendant Maria Ilao Gosilatar is in poor health.

Judge Lee set the trial for Jan 28 –Feb 1, adding an extra day to the original three-day hearing to allow the defense to make a stay application then.

Gosilatar, who is said to be suffering from a growing tumor in her brain, has been in police custody since Dec 9, 2016. 

She was arrested along with a local accountant while trying to cash the check at the Hang Seng Bank headquarters in Central, then charged with using a false instrument.

In the previous hearing on Nov 8, defense lawyers said they wanted the prosecution to consider halting the case against Gosilatar because of her poor health.

The trial was originally set for Oct 26-30, but had been postponed because the defense wanted to present a second medical report.

Shaun Kelly, for the defense, said at the latest hearing that his team had received the second medical report on Gosilatar from a Dr Mohamad.

Kelly asked for a break so he could confer with the prosecution about halting the trial, but Judge Lee said this could be done during the trial.

Gosilatar, who claimed to be the chairwoman of a Bulacan-based charity called Mama Mary 2000 International Foundation, had told the court that the check was donated to her charity by unidentified people.

Later on, she told the court she had received a report from Philippine police saying she was a victim of scammers. She did not elaborate.

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