Press Release
October 23, 2007


Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan today challenged the Arroyo Administration to "open to the public the issue of granting pardon" to former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, especially since "the motive of the Palace is highly questionable."

Admitting that "there is a very slim chance that the Sandiganbayan will reconsider its original verdict," Erap's lawyers yesterday withdrew his motion for reconsideration to apply for unconditional pardon from President Gloria Arroyo.

"Considering that the granting of pardon to former President Estrada is unprecedented, it is but appropriate for President Arroyo to open this matter to those who bestowed her this authority: the Filipino public," said Kiko.

The law, Kiko explained, "qualifies pardon as an act of grace that proceeds from the power entrusted with the execution of laws. Pardon, as any other power in government, emanates from the people. PGMA, therefore, needs to engage the public, solicit views, state under what circumstances former President Estrada qualifies for pardon, and, should she decide to grant him pardon, present the reasons why she did so. She is, first and foremost, answerable to the public."

"There are already speculations that President Arroyo is bound to grant Erap pardon to set precedent in case she, too, finds herself in the same predicament in the future. Bottom line here is, be it Erap or PGMA in hot water, pardon must not be used as a tool to mock our justice system," said Kiko.

Kiko reiterated his previous position that the government should carefully study the granting of pardon to the ousted President, because "how we treat this case will have a bearing on how we treat future cases. We should do it right if we are to do it at all, otherwise, there will be no closure."

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