Posted by: mensab | November 12, 2007

On Estrada Pardon

Convicted ex-president returns home after pardon 

MANILA, Philippines — Former president and movie star Joseph Estrada of the Philippines is a free man.

 

As the first former president in Southeast Asia to be convicted of corruption (two counts of plunder) on September 12 and sentenced for 40 years of imprisonment, Estrada was granted pardon by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on October 25, just 43 days after the conviction.

 

The explanations given for the pardon were that Estrada is already 70 years old, has been in house arrest for six and a half years, and has committed not to seek any elective positions in the country.

 

Justifying her action, President Arroyo in a speech before the Philippine Business Conference said that “national unity, rule of law, justice with accountability” were the reasons behind the pardon.

 

Various sectors and personalities were divided on the issue of pardon to Estrada. Asserting that justice and fairness should prevail, the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expressed opposition to the pardon while few bishops backed pardoning the ex-president. Former president Fidel Ramos (1992-1998) warned the Arroyo government that the pardon could be the start of its downfall while former president Corazon Aquino (1986-1992) who came to power through the first people power revolution welcomed the pardon for the deposed president. The loudest opposition to pardon came from the civil society and left-leaning groups that toppled Estrada from power while the most vocal supporters of the pardon were allies of the former president.

 

Estrada was ousted from power in 2001 by the second people power revolution over corruption and lavish lifestyle scandals. President Arroyo who was then the Vice-President assumed the presidency and was declared winner in the controversial 2004 presidential election despite evidences of widespread cheating and electoral fraud.

 

As predecessor of Estrada, President Arroyo is also facing and hounded by various corruption charges and scandals in the impeachment cases filed against her since 2005, 2006, and 2007. Critics of the Arroyo administration interpreted the pardon to ex-president Estrada as precedent to President Arroyo if she is found guilty of the charges after her term of office. Her incumbency as President shields her from being charged in a trial court.

 

In his homecoming, Estrada was greeted by thousands of his supporters. As a popular movie star, he draws his main following from the masses. Just like in the movies he usually portrayed, he returned home triumphantly.

    

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: