Pardon for Erap? What say you?

There’s a controversy on the proposal to pardon former President Joseph Estrada. Those in favor of the grant of Presidential pardon argue that Erap has suffered enough, that he is already 70 years old and that, in any event, PGMA has absolute discretion to pardon anyone she chooses. Those who oppose the pardon, on the other hand, argues that it is an insult to national honor and that it sends the wrong signal to everyone — steal big and then get a pardon.

Each side may claim that the majority supports their stand. So, let’s take the pulse of our readers. Comments are most welcome below. You may also vote through the poll at the right side.

Update (26 October 2007): The discussion may appear moot with the grant of pardon yesterday. It may be a useless exercise to discuss something which is under the bridge, so to speak. Still, for the benefit of those who want to express their opinion, the comment section will remain open. The polls is now closed.

11 comments

  1. How would you interpret Art. VII § 19, Fred? My own interpretation is that the president cannot pardon one who is being/has been impeached to avoid/void the impeachment itself. So in Erap’s case, it’s clear to me that he may be pardoned as it involves the crime of plunder, and not the impeachment.

    But apparently some people disagree, interpreting the provision as prohibiting the pardon of any crime of any person who has been impeached.

  2. Pardon should be given to those who have shown remorse and is willing to change as a consequence of his or her admission of wrongdoing. It is sick and unforgiveable that the present government is willing to pardon a criminal who was caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. I agree that we have to forgive. But we must never forget and there must be justice. Even the Almighty grants forgiveness only to those who are truly repentant. Has Erap confessed to any of his sins? “This cycle of forgiving for the sake of national reconciliation is the cause why we have never moved forward as a nation. Nobody is held accountable for their actions.” It is a shame that Marcos was able to get away with plunder… and now Erap too? Heck, Erap sinned against the Filipino people. If anyone should give pardon to Erap, it should be solely granted by the very same people whom the crime has been committed against.
    Once again, our people has been robbed of justice. If this continues, the culture of corruption will go on and on (and on…) because the grafters and plunderers in government will argue that they can get pardon even if they get convicted. Madam President, once again, it is your hand that dealt this great injustice to the Filipino people. What a sad day for Philippine justice.

  3. Erap deserves to rot in jail for a lifetime. And I mean a real jail where 80 prisones are cramped in a cell at night! Where food served is unfit for a dog. Where he wears an orange uniform (and made to dance?!) Where he has no bodyguards. Where he can get beaten up by KSP inmates.
    CERTAINLY NOT IN A PLUSH VILLA!!!

  4. A 70-year old thief who stole a pair of jeans is rotten in jail and yet a 70-year old plunderer who pillaged people’s money has been pardoned and is now free. Is this the brand of justice we will teach to our children?

  5. J. Don,
    I agree with you. It’s true that the Constitution prohibits the grant of pardon “in cases of impeachment” and it’s true that the lower house did impeach Erap. The pardon, however, was given in relation to the plunder conviction before the Sandiganbayan, and not in relation to the impeachment case. Besides, the Senate wasn’t able to pass judgment on the impeachment case.

    Macka,
    For someone who has the gift of writing, your short answer may be a reflection of your dilemma over this matter. =)

    Lito, god_help_us, Richard, how could I argue against your point?

  6. Yes, you are right atty. fred. Might strike the theory saying that when everyone’s happy… the rule of law is almost always thrown at the backseat. The purpose of the rule of law anyway is peace and order, stability, due process and equal protection, among others. I think nobody has compromised these purposes when Erap was pardoned.

    Fear is different from ideology. Just like a fear of wrong is a whole different story from the wrong itself. And we try to ratiocinate. And I try to ratiocinate along with the unfinished rest. And while trying to resolve the dilemma – thanks for the affirmation atty. fred, I have arrived at more abstract questions than concrete answers. I definitely am not a stray observer. I share many a Filipinos’ dilemma with Erap’s pardon.

    Why do we question GMA’s act of exercising one of her prerogatives as President? Because it is morally wrong for some? How many times do we have to lecture on the relativity of law and morals? Why do we jail the Erap for crimes he committed while in public service? Why he alone? Where lies the mistake? Where lies the right path?

    Why pardon him? Why not?

    But then again, “sabi nga nila..” you have to take sides between the “nag-uumpugang bato.” Of course, I still agree with that adage. Only that, I guess I have not seen the clear and present conflict for myself. All is well. Business as usual. That is my opinion.

    Denial? Yes, a specific denial.

  7. J. Don,

    You raised an interesting point.

    As Atty. Fred said, the Senate wasn’t able to pass judgment on the impeachment case.

    Erap was never punished from the impeachment as it did not reach a conclusion.

    Based on the very definition of pardon, there can never be pardon if no punishment has been imposed.

    Hence, the bar on cases of impeachment finds application only if the impeachment process ends up in the imposition of a punishment, which it did not in the case of Erap.

  8. Macka,

    Just to take the role of the devil’s advocate…the purpose of the law is also about equality. As a one president said, those who have less in life should have more in law. How could we explain that to the rest of 70 year olds languishing in jail? I believe a news show did a story on 70 year olds in Bilibid.

    Lito,

    Very true. However, I believe the impeachment case is merely a side issue, as the pardon relates to the plunder case.

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