MANILA, Philippines—Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has asked the Supreme Court to set a full hearing on the disqualification case filed against him by his predecessor Alfredo Lim.
Lim wants Estrada’s election voided, saying the former president violated a precondition not to run for public office when former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted him executive clemency in October 20017, less than two months after the Sandiganbayan convicted him of plunder.
Estrada garnered 343,993 votes over Lim’s 308,544 during the last mid-term polls in May.
Estrada, in his 32-page comment said that since Lim “is so sure of his premises,” he should prove his claim by submitting evidence to the high court or the Court of Appeals.
He assured the high court he would prove that it was Arroyo” who initially offered to grant him absolute pardon on the condition that he should apply for it, which he rejected”, and that a “full and absolute pardon” was offered to him after he approved its draft.
Estrada alleged that the “absolute pardon given to him by Arroyo was “an attempt to buy mass support from the followers of Estrada” at the height of the political crisis in 2007.
Lim, in his petition to join the plea of lawyer Risos Vidal to cancel Estrada’s certificate of candidacy for Manila mayor, Estrada told the high court that when Arroyo pardoned him she just wanted to make sure that Estrada will no longer seek an elective post thus she gave the conditional pardon.
“Indeed, if we are to ask former President Arroyo on how to interpret her own pardon to respondent Estrada, she, in all likelihood, would construe the whereas clause as a condition for the clemency, for evident political reasons, if not out of sheer personal disdain,” Lim said.