Bank accounts and checks were presented, big-time witnesses surfaced, alleged accomplices apprehended, bail petitioned thrown out — one would indeed be led to believe that President Joseph “Erap” Estrada is guilty of the charges of perjury and plunder. I was led to believe that, too. So when the SandiganBayan issued the verdict just hours ago, finding Erap guilty of the plunder (acquitted in perjury), it didn’t came like an ear-splitting, roaring thunder to me. Or at least to me...

Guilty. I pity Erap. Pero ang batas ay batas...
ERAP IS GUILTY. But is it the END?

Before this verdict, I'd been thinking of two political scenarios why Erap would be found guilty. The verdict will be a substantiation — or nullification — of the Edsa Dos . Consequently, this will be a question of Arroyo Administration’s legitimacy. If the verdict is not guilty — and Erap would be acquitted — then it would mean that the military and businessmen-backed “revolution” was wrong. Why would you unsit a president because of false allegations? It would be a clear “power grab” by civil society, the Church and political groups. If the verdict is not guilty, then Erap should still be the president today.

On the other scenario, if he is found guilty, he would be “martyrized” by his loyalists who account for more than 50 percent of Metro Manila residents. Apart from that, if Erap do not accept presidential pardon, people who are not loyal to Estrada or those who do not consider themselves pro-Erap may easily switch support and give sympathy to Estrada. A mob with a huge number of pro-Erap supporters could easily “politicize” the AFP and, as a chain effect, could repeat the same Edsa Revolution used to topple Erap.

But the verdict has been issued. I'm no lawyer, but I believe an SC's reversal of the Sandigan Bayan’s decision would illicit legal consequences as it would contradict former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and the company’s acceptance and validation of GMA’s presidency in 2001. Therefore, it is either Erap goes to jail and serve the remaining reclusion perpetua punishment meted out against him, or he accepts presidential pardon GMA would give him. But Erap just stated in public that he will not accept presidential pardon if convicted guilty and is ready to serve his sentence in Muntinlupa. But would millions of Erap passionate supporters let him go to jail without a fight or show of force, in legal way or in mass actions?


april said...

"If the verdict is not guilty, then Erap should still be the president today. "
-I beg to disagree on this. We had our presidential election last May 14 thus, Erap cannot claim presidency anymore. It could only be true if the verdict was given before the election and he was acquitted of all charges.
But since we had an election and he was found guilty, the legitimate president is the one voted by the majority. And that is what questions the legitimacy of the Arroyo administration. Did she really win the last election?

Sep 13, 2007, 11:06:00 AM  
Nutty Boy said...

From the perspective of those who come to participate in the election, yes. But as far as I know, there was no legal precedent whatsoever stating that a successful election should invalidate all cases regarding claims of presidency. This is the first case in the history of the Philippine politics. Your point is well taken, but you disagreed with a hypothetical statement ("IF" the verdict is not guilty, then Erap should still be the president today). In fact, I was saying that the verdict would and should be guilty, for that would help validate or legalize the move of Supreme Court to declare Arroyo's presidency, 2004 election, etc.; otherwise, if Erap is not guilty, then the Supreme Court, the civil society, the Church, the AFP, etc. HAD NO RIGHTS or any CONSTITUTIONAL POWER to topple him. But of course, that is, IF the SC found him not guilty. But he is guilty.

It is worthy to note that "IF" the Supreme Court still affirms the legitimacy of Arroyo Administration after eventually finding ERAP NOT guilty of plunder, then a mob (comprising of elite, military, police, political persons, etc) could easily do the same thing: strip Gloria or any other president of power, impeach them, and ultimately get away with government power — because whether the president they accuse and impeach is guilty or not guilty of the crime, it does not matter, for the Supreme Court WILL validate their power, citing the legal precedent (people of the Philippines VS. Erap <--- Erap winning the case, but GMA is still the president) as the sources of argument.

Imagine if the court said Erap is NOT guilty: we incarcerated an innocent person for six years. Not only that, we stole his presidency! What would become of him? Could he sue the government for ruining his life?

You see, the bottomline is, if Erap is guilty and GMA still the president, it would mock the democracy. People power will become a "mob" power. Those who have the manpower, the sources and the army to mobilize a mass action could easily grab power. That would be oligarchy, and not democracy. Seeing this case, the SC had no choice but to convict Erap.

That is inevitable.

Sep 14, 2007, 9:09:00 AM  
nyvremzurc said...

no comment.

I am Sorry.


come on.

wake up.

then die.

Sep 15, 2007, 12:35:00 AM  
korzensipi said...

3 edsa revolutions can be so shitty, we should have kicked cory in the beginning for being lame duck who only sit on the popularity of his husband. damn ninoy is communist, and if i were joma sison then they can all go fuck themselves sideways!! all are assholes!!

Sep 15, 2007, 1:06:00 PM  
kuchi said...

For whatever it's worth, had it not been for Edsa 1 we would not have the democracy that we have right now.

There are certainly hidden agendas concerning erap's verdict, but I'd rather see him rot in jail together with the corrupt allies of the Arroyo administration. I'm sure that erap, garci, Abalos' of the ZTE scandal, and all the others who mercilessly prey on people's taxes will have a blast in jail.

We never really learn, do we?

Sep 21, 2007, 10:09:00 AM  
Amalia said...

Well written article.

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