• Estrada one vote shy of SC victory


    MANILA Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is reportedly one vote shy of the needed number of votes to win his disqualification case at the Supreme Court (SC).

    Unimpeachable sources at the High Court told The Manila Times on Monday that at least six associate justices do not want Estrada disqualified.

    The SC en banc is set to vote on Wednesday (January 21) on whether to disqualify or retain Estrada as Manila mayor.

    Alicia Risos-Vidal, the lawyer of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who also intervened in the case, filed the disqualification case against the former president.

    Estrada needs at least seven votes to win since only 14 of the 15 justices will decide on the case. Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza earlier decided to inhibit himself.

    Meanwhile, two associate justices have already circulated their dissenting opinions already circulated their dissenting opinions against the draft decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who wanted to disqualify Estrada.

    Leonen, who was designated to study whether Estrada should be ousted, has opined that the Manila mayor should be disqualified because of his conviction for the crime of plunder.

    He said the presidential pardon given to Estrada by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was conditional, not absolute.

    Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza has submitted to the SC en banc his draft opinion, which dissents from the Leonen draft, the High Court sources said.

    Associate Justice Arturo Brion has also circulated his dissenting opinion against the Leonen draft, the sources added.

    The Times has learned that Mendoza’s dissenting opinion states that Estrada should not be disqualified because the pardon bestowed by Arroyo was an “absolute pardon” based on the executive clemency’s wordings.

    He said Estrada’s “civil and political rights” have been fully restored.

    On the other hand, The Times sources said Brion’s dissent dwells on the mandate of the people principle: The voice of the people must prevail after the majority of the electorate in the City of Manila elected Estrada.

    According to the sources, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno may agree with Leonen. Sereno and Leonen were known allies during their College of Law days at the University of the Philippines.

    Under the rules, once the SC voting is tied at 7-7, a re-voting shall be made. If the votes are still tied on the second voting, the petition against Estrada shall be dismissed.


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    1. Erap was pardoned by gloria arroyo who is an illegitimate and corrupt President, both of them should be in jail and disqualified from holding positions in govt

    2. victor m. hernandez on

      If there are unimpeachable sources in SC about its impending decision on a very important case, then something is really very wrong about the whole system in SC. Are Justices telling people their decisions before final deliberations to decide? Or worse, something is bad happening there.

    3. Why don’t we just ask GMA what her real intentions were when she gave Erap that pardon? Since the President’s power to pardon is absolute and unquestionable, she is the best person to tell us if Erap’s full civil rights were restored or not.

    4. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The fact that Erap was able to run for the presidency is reason enough not to disqualify him from running as mayor of Manila which he handily won. Why deprive the people of Manila their choice. There is a law much higher than the legal written by men, it is the moral law- The Voice of the People is the voice of God. God bless the Philippines.

      • Please be informed that the disqualification case started when Pres. Erap ran as president but loss to Pnoy. The problem is that the SC was not able to decide faster to resolve the case and the result of the election made the complain mute since he lost according to the former SC Chief Renato Corona. If the high tribunal decided to disqualify him because of the criminal record as a merit to the case then he will not be allowed to run for mayor anyway. This is a case of “JUSTICE DELAYED,JUSTICE DENIED”.

    5. Justice Marvic Leonen should give due respect to the voice of the people who elected Estrada. The dirty hands of politics should not spoil the general principle that the “VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD.” Their personal dislike for Estrada should NOT influence Leonen or Sereno’s decision. Be honest and fair. Why trample this time-honored principle?

    6. Joel Rodriguez on

      The comelec rule is clear…”any person convicted of any crime is disallowed from running for public office” and it did not mention that the convicted felon can run after he is pardoned. Why did the comelec allow him to run in the first place? Come to think, his crime is about Plunder and should’ve gotten the death penalty.

    7. A message to the Honorable Justices..
      Everybody’s awaiting for this decision.
      Your decision on this case will reflect either paid “playing ignorant”, just personality, or “play safe”.
      be right please.

    8. According to an article, Justice Leonen, allegedly said that if Erap would be disqualified, Isko Moreno cannot assume the mayorship because of the disqualification. In short, Alfredo Lim who is the losing contender, would become the mayor again. Can the people of Manila accept Alfredo Lim again as their mayor? Do they have a choice?

    9. whether tie or not, Estrada should remain in his chair as mayor of manila. because people of manila voted for him.

    10. I sincerely believe that unseen hand is working to disqualify Erap so he can not again in 2016 even for other positions. Pnoy will definitely eliminate all political opponent of Roxas next year and Erap is a potential enemy.

    11. I think former Pres Estrada is sincere in his desire to serve the people of Manila. At his age, this might be his last hurrah and should be allowed to retain his position as Mayor. To run again as President of this country this is a no no. We have seen and experienced how he performed as President, a very dismal record coupled with corruption. As for Binay, Heavens, have mercy on the Pilipinos.

    12. Uphold and respect the will of the electorate in the City of Manila. The unresolved legal issue should have been vigorously raised and pursued with the Voters during the campaign to allow the Voters to decide whether to take chance on him or not. Once the Voters have spoken, standing by the Voters decision is the honorable thing to do unless all (not just a majority) of the S.C. Justices is in agreement to strip the winner of the title and turn it over to the loser. Err in favor of the Voters and keep the peace.

    13. I think a failure to disqualify a world renowned convicted criminal from public office on a technically regarding the wording of a pardon given to a sick old man in good faith would destroy all respect for the Philippine legal system. I also think it would have desasteres effect on the country’s newly established credit ratings.

    14. vagoneto rieles on

      “..six associate justices do not want Estrada disqualified.” We could only accept that this news report is accurate and, therefore, proceed to ask how this development has come about. Going solely by the words, of the pardon by then President Macapagal-Arroyo,( we can only conjecture as to the intent), one can only conclude that it was conditional. There seems to be no way one could parse words and conclude otherwise. We are, sadly, left to ponder whether money, and, how much of it, is in play in this very important issue. We also wonder whether the record of the subject individual, (Estrada), might be germane to the consideration.