Can former President Joseph Estrada run as President in 2010?

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.

3. He was convicted of plunder in 2007, but was immediately granted executive clemency by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The pertinent portion of the order reads:

“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.

66 comments

  1. In my humble opinion…I think Estrada is ineligible to run again for the position of President.

    The Spirit of the Law intends that the President shall not be eligible for any re-election, either election immediately after a term or election even after some interruption.

    The law should be interpreted by the spirit or intention of the framers, not by the letter of the law.

    1. Please be informed my friend that a Petition for disqualification as presidential candidate had been filed this morning (Dec. 5, 2009) with COMELEC Main Office in order to settle once and for all whether or not Ex-President Erap is qualified to be re-elected of this beloved country.

      1. Sa palagay ko ay hindi na pwede si erap tumakbo ulit sa pagka presidente dahil napakalinaw ang Article VI, Section 4 ng ating Salagang Batas. Sana ay nabigyan si Erap ng tapat at tama na advice ng kanyang mga legal advisers na hinding-hindi na siya pwedeng tumakbo muli sa pagka presidente ng ating bansa. Sana ay huwag siyang magpa muling magpa-uto at baka sa bandang huli ay mailagay na naman siya sa malaking kahiyaan.

  2. I wonder what’s the purpose of ERap in running for president? If he just wants to retaliate to what had happened to him in 2001, then his reasoning is very very shallow. If he really wants to serve the poor, can he just be somebody else aside from being the president? He can be DSWD Secretary, or anyone else! Becoming president is not the only way to serve the poor! If he wants to “represent” the poor, can he just create a new party-list?

    There are so many ways, Erap! Do not take the presidency route as you’re not allowed anymore!

    To other presidentiables: there are sooo many ways to serve the Philippines! Certainly, becoming the president is not the only way. Open your minds, choose some other options! Instead of spending your money on elections, why not spend them in serving the people???

    1. Politicians served the public through office not because they wanted to effectively serve the people but rather they wanted to serve with a major profit they would get on serving.

      You can`t have any profit by spending the money to the people…Politics is business…spending money on elections are investments with 200% profit or more per year once they got elected to the position. ^_^

  3. that’s the perspective of traditional politicians on politics. the original purpose of government positions is not to benefit the politicians. it is to benefit everyone. so if you’re running for any gov’t position just coz you want to earn more income, please please don’t do so. it’s a huge responsibility and lives of people around you depend on it.

  4. The court should let him know now if he can run again or not. The people who still support him must have an attention deficit disorder. What did he really do for this country, other than trying to legalize “jueteng” for his own benefit. The whole world think of him as a joke anyway, still wearing sweat band on his wrist with his barong tagalog. He probably think that being the president is the same as acting in front of the camera. And speaking of acting, his son Jinggoy should get an award for his oustanding performance while in confinement. Holding a towel over his chest pretending to have a heart condition and requested to go to the hospital for treatment. And what did he do after he was granted bail. Celebrated his release, played basketball and even punch another actor in the process. Erap and his kind of people are like harmfull weeds, the only way you can get rid of them is to kill the roots. Maybe they should let him run again, he needs to replenish his Jose Velarde account.

  5. Atty. Fred,

    allow me to repost my personal to some extent legal opinion on the matter from my blog.

    “Sometimes, all it takes is looking twice.

    The present debate on the Erap question has reached the halls of public opinion as the former President Joseph Estrada tried to test the waters over the Constitutional prohibition on reelection. Hence, to better understand the problem, it is important to analyze the Constitutional provision in it plainest and simplest language.

    The 1987 Constitution has provided this provision regarding the case of electing a President:

    “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 re-election. 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.

    No Vice-President shall serve for more than two successive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.”

    This particular section provides for the manner of electing a President. At the onset, the provision states that “The President x x x shall be elected x x x.” Hence, as in basic sentence construction, this provision is intended to a person who, under the law, has qualified, ran and eventually ELECTED as PRESIDENT. It did not distinguish whether it is the incumbent or the past President. In my personal opinion, the Constitution need not distinguish the same, as the provision was meant to apply to ANY person who was elected as President.

    Therefore, the succeeding contentious statement “The President shall not be eligible for any reelection,” should be easier to understand. The President who was elected under the circumstances of the previous provision shall not be eligible for ANY REELECTION. To completely appreciate the value of the word “any” it is important to view the deliberation of the 1986 Constitutional Commission when the proposals for the term of office of the President was debated upon.

    According to the revered Father Joaquin Bernas, SJ, a noted constitutionalist, the word “any,” which appeared twice in the provision, is a victory of the absolutists in the Commission who preferred that any person who was elected as President would no longer have the chance to be re-elected again, in any circumstances. As proof of such unanimous triumph is its repetition in the succeeding statement, though not intended for the elected President but to a person who has “x x x succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years x x x,” when it provides that the said person “shall not be qualified to the same office any time.” Therefore, the intention of the members of the Commission can be clearly gleaned, as a magnanimous affirmation of a single term President.

    Thus, when the provision was drafted, the framers intended no less that we shall have but a person, elected by the sovereign people and vested with such mandate, serve a single term of six years. It is therefore a make or break scenario. When Erap was elected in 1998, on his shoulders was laden the people’s trust. Sad to say, he was not able to finish such term, because those gathered at EDSA in 2001 ousted him from power, aside from the fact that he was deemed resigned by the Supreme Court in the cases of Estrada v. Arroyo and Estrada v. Disierto. He missed his shot at history and only history now can judge him.

    But as far as the Constitution is concerned, it is clear. Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distiguere debemos. When the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish.

    And for Erap, all I can say is dura lex, sed lex.

  6. Why Erap can’t run for President in the 2010 elections?

    FYI

    1987 Philippine Constitution (current constitution)

    Article VII. Executive Department

    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 re-election. 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.

    It doesn’t matter if Former President Joseph Estrada did not finish his term because of impeachment, it’s a matter of “election” and “re-election”. Lawfully speaking, Erap cannot run for President in the 2010 elections or in any future elections.

    http://www.thingswelovetohate.com/2009/08/why-erap-cant-run-for-president-in-2010.html

  7. Whether or not the President can run for another term after other person shall have served in his former office?

    YES…
    – (i) The President can be re-elected, provided this is not done immediately following his first term.
    – (ii) Because the President applies only to the incumbent President.

    NO…
    – (i) He is forever disqualified because Art. 7, Sec. 4 provides that “the President shall not be eligible for any re-election.”
    – (ii) (my answer) For under the rules of statutory construction, general words shall be understood in a general sense, which is expressed in the maxim, generalia verba sunt generaliter intelligenda. Hence, the term President should connote the general sense of those who were validly proclaimed as President regardless whether it’s the incumbent President or a former President. Thus, any validly elected President under the 1987 Constitution is forever disqualified for any re-election. Besides, qualifications of public office are strictly construed.

    Well, as we all know, the SC has the final say.

  8. Joseph Estrada is an actor who capitalized on his acting to become prez of the Philippines. Not even a year in office, he was already bankrupting the country (GMA just exacerbated it with her and her family’s greed). Joseph’s hero-image was all b.s. and the Filipinos still want him back? Who is STUPID, JE or the Filipino voters who want him back? When will the Filipinos learn that they have to use their heads when electing a leader who will benefit the whole country and its people?
    Every school in the Philippines should teach their students that they should elect their leaders not because they are popular, not because they are rich, but because they want the Filipino and the Philippines to be great again in the world stage-a growing economy, very low unemployment, no more CORRUPTION in all levels of government, no more padrino/padrina system, and purely love of country ala Jose Rizal-not only in their words, but also in their actions. Words are cheap especially if the politicians want to win. Look at Joseph Estrada-his mistresses had a hayday in accumulating millions of pesos courtesy of the people’s monies. Wake up, Philippines, if you want your country and the people to prosper and be great again.

    1. hmmm…
      jade out topic yang post mo….

      pinaguusapan dito legality hindi conscience or whatever you want to call…

      Legality…kung pwede paba tumakbo si Erap

    2. sorry jade. but you’re really out of the topic which is about legalities and the constitutional rights.. though, i don’t like him to come back in his seat, he is still having that right protected by the philippine constitution that further holds all the laws and principles of our government. thank you/.,;

  9. The prohibition is absolute. I echo the teachings imparted on all Ateneans, especially those taught by Fr. Bernas. The key here is the definition of “President.” The President is one who has been elected to office by a direct vote of the people for a six-year term. That definition states the President to be elected only for such term, but in no way makes service of any portion of that term as a qualifier for him to be considered as the President.

    The third sentence refers to a succeeding President, and understandably makes an exception (no punishment for the successor). It is unrelated, and has no bearing, to the previous two sentences.

    The SC could have put to rest any doubt on this issue by resolving the Vanguard petition on the merits. Instead, it preferred the doctrine of prematurity in dismissing the petition. It could have used the standard of “transcendental importance” to take cognizance of the petition’s merits.

  10. Ordinary people need simple clear cut explanation. my humble opinion dictate Erap should not run anymore, he already once elected as a president and GMA finish his term, whatever reasoned they implied, whether he was “booted out” or “stepped out”, the fact remain that he was in elected in 1998.

    What if at the time he was “sick” or “incapacitated” temporarily and need to relinquished the presidency to his vice president, until their six years term expired. assuming he’s back from health, can he still run again? is he not violating the prohibition of no re-election under Art. 7, Sec 4?

  11. Former President Joseph Estrada is eligible in running for President in 2010 National Election, According to the Constitution 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, but Estrada served as a President of the Philippines for 2 1/2 years into his supposed 6-year term and the Philippine Constitution only prohibits a “person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years to the same office at any time, any reelection bid by the still very popular former President should be a legal non-issue.

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