Lim won’t let go of disqualification bid vs Mayor Estrada
MANILA, Philippines—Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim refuses to accept that he lost the 2013 elections to a plunder convict and has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its Jan. 21 decision dismissing the disqualification case against his successor, Joseph Estrada.
“How could a person convicted of plunder be qualified? It’s the biggest crime that can be committed by a public official,” Lim told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the 29th anniversary celebration of the 1986 Edsa Revolution at the People Power Monument on Wednesday.
“There are other good law-abiding citizens. Why not put them in office? Not those tainted with unsavory matters,” said Lim, who was an intervenor in the disqualification case. In that capacity, Lim filed the motion for reconsideration through counsel Renato dela Cruz last Friday.
In the event that the high court grants his motion, Lim said he should be proclaimed the winner since he would have been the only qualified candidate for mayor of Manila in the 2013 polls.
The votes for a disqualified candidate should be considered stray votes, based on previous orders issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and upheld by the Supreme Court, he said.
On Jan. 21, the Supreme Court en banc voted 11-3 to allow former President Estrada to remain as Manila mayor, saying the executive pardon granted by his successor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo following his conviction for plunder in 2007 restored his right to vote and be elected to public office.
In his motion for reconsideration, Lim argued that the wording of Arroyo’s pardon was susceptible to several interpretations but that the third clause—stating that “Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office”—supplied what he called the missing clue.
He added that the right to vote and be elected must be “expressly restored” in the pardon, as the Supreme Court ruled in the case of former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos whose sentence for a rape conviction was commuted by Arroyo.
After serving his commuted sentence, Jalosjos ran for mayor but he was disqualified by the Comelec. The poll body’s decision was later affirmed by the Supreme Court, which said the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification remains despite the pardon.
Lim said the same principle should be applied in Estrada’s case since the high court’s Jan. 21 decision would be invoked by future convicts in obtaining executive clemency.
Efforts to end the pillage of public coffers will be all for naught if the decision is not reconsidered, he stressed.
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