Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, popularly known as “Erap”, recently announced that he is running for President in the 2010 National Elections. This should be a good topic for discussion. Here’s what we all know:
1. Joseph Estrada was elected as President of the Republic of the Philippines in the 1998 elections.
2. He “stepped out” of Malacanang in 20 January 2001, after EDSA People Power II.
“In view hereof 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 rights.” (Emphasis supplied)
4. The Constitution provides that an elected President shall not be eligible for any reelection. The pertinent provision of Article VII, Sec. 4 of the Constitution reads:
Section 4. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.
Given these facts, or any relevant facts that you may want to raise, can former President Joseph Estrada run as President in the 2010 elections? Please remember that this is the sole legal issue that we should be discussing. Let the discussion begin (below). Thank you.