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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ERAP WINS; PNOY’S BLUNDER


THE Supreme Court has ruled that Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada stays as chief executive of the country’s capital The SC agreed with the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that Erap was qualified to run for mayor during the 2013 elections.

The high court, through Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, dismissed the consolidated petitions of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim–the candidate Estrada beat in 2013–and his lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal.

De Castro was the chairperson of the Sandiganbayan Special Division that convicted Estrada for plunder.

The SC justices surprised everyone by voting 11-3 in favor of upholding the Comelec decision. Everyone expected a closer decision.

The three justices who voted for his disqualification were: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited.

Former Mayor Alfredo Lim and his lawyer insisted that President Estrada’s conviction for plunder and life imprisonment sentence in 2007 rendered him disqualified to run for public office.

Before the decision, the Supreme Court said that it had yet to render a decision on the disqualification bid against former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Reports were that the SC was close to a vote but the voting was expected to be a close one..

The court also would not say whether the case was included in the agenda of the en banc session on Wednesday (Jan. 21), a meeting moved from the regular Tuesday schedule following the holiday declarations due to the Papal visit.

Rumors about a possible decision on the Estrada case have been the talk of Manila since December, before the court went on break.

Vidal elevated to the Supreme Court her bid to disqualify Estrada after losing the case at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

She asserted that the former President should not have been allowed to seek public office again given his plunder conviction and the life imprisonment meted him for the offense.

Former President Gloria Arroyo, now detained herself for a plunder trial, pardoned Estrada a month after his conviction in September 2007. If anyone had asked her, she probably would have said that she intended for Erap to get back all of his rights as a citizen.

Lim later joined in Vidal’s petition.

The Comelec rejected Vidal’s petition citing its similarities with a disqualification bid filed against Estrada in 2010, when he sought the Presidency again. He lost to President Aquino, but showed his still strong following as he placed second overall in the polls.

In his response to the petition in 2013, Estrada said Vidal’s accusations were “insufficient to disturb” the Comelec’s decision to throw out her complaint against Estrada.

The ousted President added that the “absolute pardon” granted him by Arroyo had given him back his “full civil and political rights including the right to seek public elective office.

While Estrada has been saying that the 2010 election was the last one in which he would run because he would give way to his Vice Mayor Isko Moreno whom he had promised to support in the next election. After the SC decision, however, Erap is saying that Isko could run for Congress or still another post, opening up other possibilities for the former President to go for other posts. Another run at the presidency, perhaps?

Why not? It would save the Philippines from a Binay presidency.

***

A Palace official defends President Aquino from critics who were dismayed at the Chief Executive for criticizing the Philippine bishops before Pope Francis last week during the Pope’s call at Malacañang last week;

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the President simply told the Pope the “truth.”

“The speech was a truth-telling statement. If you review the entire text you will understand the context. It was a narrative that was historically accurate and truthful and there was no singling out of any personality,” Coloma said in a press briefing.

“It was a personal testimony of someone who experienced the events he was talking about and became President and became the leader of the country that was welcoming the Pope. It was a truthful statement and there was no other purpose for that statement except to tell the truth,” Coloma stressed.

While the President praised members of the clergy who fought against the Marcos dictatorship, he had strong words against those he believed took the cudgels for his predecessor, detained President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga
representative.

A columnist called Aquino an “uncouth” host while a Catholic blogger wrote that he showed “immaturity and insensitivity” in his speech before Francis.

Bayan Muna secretary general Renato Reyes said the President could have taken the occasion “to show humility and admit that more needs to be done to help the poor especially ‘Yolanda’ victims.”

Reyes said Aquino “just couldn’t rise about his own concerns and pettiness.”

“In contrast, the Pope spoke not about himself but of the need to hear the cry of the poor and to reject corruption which worsens inequality and exclusion. He spoke about social issues. The two speeches were worlds apart in depth and relevance,” Reyes said.

***

I think that Malacañang missed the point. Truth is not in question. Clearly, the President committed a faux pas, a French term that describes “a socially awkward or tactless act, especially one that violates accepted social norms, standard customs, or the rules of etiquette.”

After all, the Pope was in Malacañang for a private talk with the President. Why couldn’t that topic have been brought out during their private talk instead of being brought out in the open including his pique at the Church dignitary who suggested that the President ought to wear a wig to cover his balding pate?

A lady asked me whether anyone on the President’s staff would be fired for that speech. I replied that it was probably the President himself who thought it would be a good idea to talk against some of our Churchmen during the Pope’s visit to Malacañang..

***

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- See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/erap-wins-pnoy%E2%80%99s-blunder#sthash.ztkLJalS.dpuf

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