Deposed Philippine President Estrada Is Pardoned; Filipinos Angry

October 25, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 25, 2007) – Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo on Thursday pardoned former President Joseph Estrada who was convicted of plunder only this year.

Pardoning Estrada, whom Arroyo deposed in 2001, drew angry criticisms from many Filipinos and various political groups.

“The Executive Clemency granted to former President Joseph Estrada by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a clear sign, not of mercifulness on her part, but of weakness in her rule and it smacks of political pragmatism, a survival instinct for her dying regime,” the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), one of the country’s largest said.

“This Arroyo regime is continuously being isolated due to massive human rights violations, widening of poverty among the populace and massive corruption. Again and again, multi-million scandals are being exposed and all strings are leading to the Malacañang-based mafia.”

“This recent move is made to buy her more time against the growing calls of resignation from the Filipino people,” Prestoline Suyat, KMU spokesperson, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Arroyo, whose presidency ends in 2010, also restored Estrada’s civil and political rights.

The disgraced former leader was held under house arrest since his fall, but he enjoyed privileges that other political detainees never had. Estrada, 70, has been granted pardon because of his age, according to Secy. Ignacio Bunye, Arroyo’s spokesman.

But the KMU criticized Arroyo’s pardon of Estrada, saying, militant lawmaker Crispin Beltran, who was arrested and detained for more than a year on suspicion he was plotting to oust the President, was never pardoned despite his old age and health condition.

“Gloria should also pardon the criminals who are languishing in jails because of injustices. Release also those who are old and sick. Estrada should not be freed. This is a country of lies and deceit,” Anselmo Cunanan, a private employee in Manila, told the Mindanao Examiner. (Mindanao Examiner)

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