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Estrada pardon barred him from running, lawyers say


02:21 AM November 21st, 2012

By: Cynthia D. Balana, November 21st, 2012 02:21 AM

Former president Joseph Estrada

Two private lawyers on Tuesday asked the Sandiganbayan to clarify whether or not the presidential pardon given to former president Joseph Estrada after his conviction for plunder in 2007 allowed him to run for elective office.

Estrada, who ran but lost a presidential bid in 2010,  has again filed a certificate of candidacy —this time for mayor of Manila.

In “A Motion for Determination and Interpretation of Judgment in the Plunder Case in Relation to the Conditional Pardon,” lawyers Fernando Perito and Nepthali Aliposa said  Estrada may have violated the conditions of the pardon granted by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when he decided to again seek elective position or office.

Estrada was convicted by the Sandiganbayan’s Special Division of plunder on Sept. 12, 2007, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. On Oct. 25, 2007, Arroyo granted executive clemency to Estrada.

In their motion seeking a clarification, the two lawyers quoted one of the paragraphs in the conditional pardon that read: “Whereas, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office…In view thereof, and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political right.”

According to the petitioners, it is clear that the restoration of the civil and political rights of Estrada did not include the right to seek elected position or office.

“The electorate or the people are interested that the issue be resolved once and for all whether or not convicted former president Estrada can still seek elected position,” the motion read.

In 2010, nobody questioned the condition of his pardon when Estrada ran for president, the lawyers noted.

But they said   Estrada’s announcement that he would not seek elective or public office again was what must have prompted Arroyo to sign the conditional pardon.

The intent of the conditional pardon was to prohibit the convicted felon from running for public office, they argued.

Perito was among those who had filed disbarment complaints against Justice Secretary Leila de Lima before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for her alleged defiance of the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the travel ban issued by her office against Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga.

Originally posted at 08:17 pm | Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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