A disqualification case against former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada seemed headed for resolution after Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen assured the SC en banc that he is set to release his findings and recommendations on the case.
Leonen had been designated by the SCto write the ponencia or decision on the disqualification case against Estrada.
According to an unimpeachable source of The Manila Times in the High Court, the Associate Justice had told his fellow justices the he will soon release his report to the en banc on whether Estrada should be disqualified as mayor of Manila.
The report, according to the source, also contains findings on whether the former president is eligible to run for any elective position in the Philippines despite his conviction for the crime of plunder.
Leonen is reputedly an expert in constitutional and political law from the University of the Philippines College of Law.
“Marvic has assured the en banc that he will release his findings in the disqualification case of Erap soon. As to what are the findings, we will wait for his draft,” the SC source said.
Leonen, however, did not give any timetable on when he will release his draft ponencia for the court’s consideration.
After Estrada was convicted for the crime of plunder before the Sandiganbayan Special Division on September 12, 2007, he was immediately pardoned by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Estrada decided to run for President during the May 2010 polls where he placed second to then-Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd.
He was allowed by the Commission on Elections to run for the highest post in the land and this was not ruled on by the SC.
Tehn-Chief Justice Renato Corona was the ponente of the case who ruled that the disqualification case against Estrada must be dismissed after the case became “moot and academic” after he lost in the May 2010 elections to now President Aquino.
In a memorandum dated June 6, 2014, through his lawyers George Erwin Garcia and Dean Pacifico Agabin, Estrada said a petition filed by his opponent, former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Lim’s canvassing lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal, must be junked for lack of merit.
The former president said the pardon bestowed on him by then-President Arroyo has restored his civil and political rights.
He called on the SC to affirm findings of the Commission on Elections last April 1, 2013 and April 23, 2013 that granted him eligibility to run for mayor of Manila.
Estrada argued that “the dismissal of the instant petition is mandatory if not inevitable under the circumstances. After all, the findings and conclusions of the Public Respondent Comelec were based on the evidence on record and the prevailing laws, rules and jurisprudential doctrines on pardon and its consequent effects on the eligibility of private respondent Estrada.”
Lim, Estrada’s opponent in the May 2013 polls, intervened in the case.
He pleaded that Estrada must be disqualified at once and that he must be allowed to sit as mayor of Manila since he was the only qualified candidate in the mayoralty race in 2013.
Incumbent Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, who did not intervene in the case, could be a possible successor, by operation of law, if ever Estrada was disqualified.