OPINION

November 2, 2007 at 5:10 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

GMA Pardons Erap: Philippine Moro Watch By Karib J. Muhalli



Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Oct. 16 exonerated former President Josep “Erap” Ejercito Estrada, who is convicted of plunder for receiving of and aggrandizing himself in Jueting (illegal gambling) payola.

By giving executive clemency to Estrada— from whom she had taken over the three-year-remaining presidency in 2001through People Power II, a peaceful revolution— by now GMA is trying to prove that she is determined in pursuing her administration’s national reconciliation program amid scourging scams of the multi-million ZTE broadband deal allegedly implicating her and her husband in the kickback taking motive, and the Malacañang cash bonanza bribe for the solons to rally supports for the Palace’s bid for Charter Change roadmap in 2012, a proposed trans-government from presidential to parliamentary form.
But the presidential pardon due to ex-president Estrada after serving his sentence more than 6 years cutting his life imprisonment for plunder raised eyebrows among his detractors and opponents one of them is Luis “Chavit” Singson.

Chavit— a principal witness to the plunder case which paved way to expulsion of Erap as the country’s President and put him in jail— had been his best gambling mate some quite years ago. In his hometown, San Juan City, Erap, in his euphoric message before the beaming countrymen, thanked GMA for the clemency.

He said he could now devote most of his times to care for his ailing mother Doña Mary Ejercito, 102, who is still confined due to old age in the Medical Center of that City. Promising not to indulge himself again in “dirty politics”, Erap even cleared his conscience and reputation that he never squandered public fund.

That’s why he need not apologize to the public, for he is just the victim of unfair justice. As a free man now he is poised to help the country’s sagging economy keep upright and set his countrymen’s worsening situation forward due to abject poverty, as GMA is tapping him to lead the anti-poverty program. Throughout his career stint as movie actor-turned politician-now civilian, he has been known as pro-poor.

Their showing of optimistic gist is worthwhile that the Filipinos can emulate that despite differences in political or sectoral leanings we have to move and work for the altruistic and heroic causes under one flag, one country, if we are to cope with the neighboring countries’ booming development for decades.

But this does not simply mean the looming political controversies are over. The Laws are there to bring the convicts to justice. To be frank, Erap has been humored as under-qualified and lackluster President of the Philippine Republic, perhaps, owing to his humble academic performance as a mere dropped-out engineering student from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Few boastful are even ashamed to claim him as their President, thereby undermining his very instinctive attribute as champion of the poor Filipino masses, comparing him with the other RP’s Presidents like late Pres. Ferdinand “Macoy” E. Marcos, a number one BAR top-notch; Pres. Corazon “Cory” C. Aquino, a homemaker but a Mathematics graduate at Mount St. Vincent College in New York; Pres. Fidel V. Ramos, a military Guru from the West Point in USA; and the present Pres. Gloria “Ate Glo” Macapagal-Arroyo, an economic scientist graduate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Yet, neither they nor Erap is smart, so to speak exclusively of their regime’s economic performance and political stability since more than thirty years now.

In fact, the smartest of them all is Macoy, who implemented the 1972 Martial Law; but like Erap, he is also publicly charged with millions worth of ill-gotten wealth and laundered money, ousted from presidency and exiled to Honolulu, Hawaii, thanks to the People Power I or Edsa I.

Cognizant of the recurrent crises, we believe that the main factor that will ultimately add pressure for callous GMA to vacate her most-coveted Post is the intense backing of Ramos elite group, along with military column and Churchmen movement to empower the protesting people.

This time is the real Edsa III.The mislabeled Edsa III led by Estrada’s massive poor people failed due to reluctant support of the said key group to drive out GMA in 2002.

The same is true with the Oakwood mutiny staged by a handful number of military renegades called Magdalo against GMA regime in 2003, and the people uprising to unseat GMA in 2005 at the height of the alleged “Hello Garci” voice-taped scandal framing GMA of vote rigging over close rival Fernando Poe Jr. in the presidential elections were also a futile attempts.

Will the demolition-revolution man— Apo Ramos— forsake GMA as a “sacrificial lamb” just to save the whole entity of Lakas (People Power Party), a mainstream political party in the country he has started and established? Ate Glo is either to be castigated with, or she is to escape from the same fate, a political impasse her predecessor Estrada and late strongman Marcos sadly and penitently experienced.

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