THE Supreme Court (SC) decision junking a disqualification case filed against former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada eliminated all obstacles for him to seek higher office in 2016 except for the presidency, a political analyst said on Thursday.
According to Professor Ramon Casiple, while the SC ruling allows Estrada to run for a higher position next year, he may meet opposition if he guns for the presidency.
“He may file his candidacy to run for president, but I’m sure that somebody will also file a petition at the Supreme Court preventing him to run on the basis of the constitutional ban on second term of presidents,” Casiple explained.
Artile VII, Section 4, of the Philippine Constitution states that the “President shall not be eligible for any reelection.”
Estrada was elected as the 13th President of the Philippines in 1998 but he was ousted in 2001 over allegations of corruption. He was eventually charged and convicted for plunder and was sent to jail.
In 2007, then-President Gloria Arroyo granted Estrada executive clemency, restoring his civil and political rights.
In 2009, Estrada announced that he would run for president in 2010 with then-Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate. A disqualification case was filed against Estrada questioning his bid for Malacañang. The High Court no longer ruled on the petition since Estrada lost, placing second to now-President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Casiple said since the SC did not rule on the disqualification case against Estrada, a new petition can be filed against the Manila mayor in case he decides to join the presidential race in 2016.
A source at the Supreme Court also on Thursday said that since the High Court was silent on the issue whether Estrada can run for president, there is yet no clear prohibition that would bar him from aiming again for the country’s highest post.
The source agreed with Casiple that another petition can be filed against Estrada if he again seeks the presidency.
“There is no official ruling of the Supreme Court whether or not a former president or a sitting president can seek again the presidency,” the source said.
But amid speculations about his father’s political future, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, son of the former president, said he would prefer that his father retire from politics after his term as mayor of Manila ends.
“Being able to place second in the 2010 presidential race and elected as mayor of Manila [are]already a vindication, so for me it would be better if he will retire from politics,” Ejercito added.