16 Sep, Monday
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Estrada Conviction Politically Motivated

I WOKE up this morning and jumped out of bed to go to the living room and switch on my TV to find out what the verdict was in former President Joseph Estrada’s so-called “plunder” trial.

Because of the five hours time difference between Jeddah and Manila, by the time I awoke at 9 a.m., ANC was showing the government’s economic presentation live from Makati, but the news ticker line at the bottom of my screen said that Estrada had been found guilty by the Sandiganbayan and sentenced to life in prison! That sounded too harsh to me. After all, he hadn’t stolen directly from government coffers and what about his former best friend, Luis Chavit Singson? He should have been tried and found guilty of plunder. After all it was he who funneled jueteng funds from Illocos Sur to Estrada when he was the governor.

Flipping the channel to CNN, Estrada’s sentencing didn’t even make the top headlines. Depressed by the lack of live coverage, I went back to bed. Later when I woke up again, Sergio Apostol was gloating on television that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was loudly celebrating with administration congressmen in a wing of Malacanang Palace. “She (Mrs. Arroyo) was so happy over the verdict that her laughter was heard the loudest on top of the others among the crowd (of lawmakers) who visited her,” according to a Palace insider quoted in Thursday’s Daily Tribune.

But Estrada is appealing the conviction and his case will ultimately end up in front of the Supreme Court. As the Black and White Movement said in a statement, what about all the other corrupt politicians such as Virgilio Garcilliano and Benjamin Abalos? Indeed, what about them? A UP professor of political science told ANC today that the Arroyo administration has a tiny window of opportunity now to go after corrupt politicians in its own camp to prove to the country that it is not politically biased against the opposition. Sadly, with the political scene in the Philippines so polarized as it is, I hardly think that President Arroyo is capable of being even-handed even if she wanted to be!

Comments (6)

  • Anonymous

    YOU WROTE: “If Arroyo were seriously interested in reconciliation, she should pardon Estrada in the next few weeks.” I’ll quote you as my answer: “What sort of message does this send to the public”
    I STATE: “No apology, no pardon!”

  • Anonymous

    I can’t find what I quoted in the article posted in this blog so I paste the address where you wrote it: http://www.inquirer.net/specialreports/theestradatrial/view.php?db=1&article=20070915-88744

  • info

    When politicians become delinquent and a threat to human life and dignity, blacklist them.

  • Extremely

    The reason why Singson came out and whistle-blowed is because Erap ordered his assasination. That is the one and only reason why Singson came out. Before Erap became president, Singson was happy just being governor of ilocos sur. He most probably was already engaged in jueteng at that time. When Erap was still Mayor, he received jueteng money only from local gambling lords. AS soon as he became president,he wanted money from jueteng lords all over the country. Since Singson was a very close friend of his, he asked him to be his national collector. It was not Chavit who asked for that job, it was Erap. Please do not forget that part of the story. Erap is the traitor in their friendship. When military men who were ordered to kill him surrounded his bullet proof car that night in October, Singson did the only thing that could keep him alive….that is to come out in the open about erap. That was erap’s biggest mistake.

  • Anonymous

    Birds of the same feather flock together.

    I believe Ex-president Joseph E. Estrada, convicted of plunder by Sandigan Bayan, is not in any position to dictate any condition for his pardon.

    Filipinos are very lenient people. There is always a place for forgiveness in their heart.

    Pardons, like amnesty, are based on principles. And Malacañang palace, acting on behalf of the Filipino people, has no right to sell-out edsa-2 or the Republic.

    Other than unconditional pardon, the nearest easy way out for Ex-President Joseph E. Estrada apparently would be an acquittal by the Supreme Court.

    We all believe in democracy.

  • rika

    hi Rasheed,
    greetings from Jakarta..
    I stumbled into your blog while I’m searching for information on Chevening Fellowship. I will join a class in Cambridge under this fellowship and I have tonnes of question and have no idea to whom I should address this question.
    I am wondering if you can help me with this? please email me at r(dot)e(dot)sari(at)gmail(dot)com..

    Thank you! nice blog by the way..

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