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Estrada is pardoned.

Erap Estrada vehemently denied that he will ask Gloria Arroyo for pardon because asking for a pardon would mean an admission of guilt. In an article from the Inquirer on Sept. 3 of this year, reporter Gil Cabacungan wrote:

A defiant former President Joseph Estrada will spurn any pardon from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as suggested by a substantial number of Filipinos should the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court find him guilty of plunder.

“Getting pardoned is an admission of guilt. I will exhaust all legal means to fight for justice, even if it means going to the Supreme Court,” Estrada Sunday said in a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

On Sept. 12, after six years of trial, the Sandiganbayan found Erap Estrada guilty of plunder and has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Just last week, it was reported that Estrada’s lawyers sent a request for pardon to the office of the President. Yesterday, at around 5:30pm, Acting Executive Secretary Ignacio Bunye went on air to announce that Arroyo has granted the former president clemency, “saving” the convicted pluderer from life imprisonment.

Bunye cited three reasons for the granting of the presidential pardon:

Estrada is 70 years old and thus qualifies for clemency in keeping with the Arroyo administration’s policy of releasing inmates who have reached that age.

Estrada had been under detention for six and a half years. 

Estrada “has publicly committed to no longer seek elective position or office.”

from inquirer.net

So that’s it then. A convicted plunderer is set free just like that.  I am not vindictive but after feeling a minor sense of elation after his conviction (a celebrated politician is finally found guilty in an act of corruption!), hearing about his pardon was such a huge let-down. Yes, medyo naawa ako nung na-convict si Erap dahil para syang naging guinea pig. But I honestly, (foolishly!) thought that he was going to be the first of many; that there’s hope in the justice system after all.

I can’t find words to describe Arroyo. I want to go to the palace and just scream at her “DO YOU REALLY THINK WE’RE THAT STUPID?!? DO YOU? DO YOU?!?” It is so obvious that this was purely politically motivated. At ang bilis ha! The request was made by Erap’s camp just last week and then Bunye came on TV yesterday afternoon. Parang prepared na prepared na yung clemency ni Estrada. Kumbaga sa kanin, mainit-init pa! Until now, Estrada hasn’t formally admitted to his guilt–I don’t think he even apologized for anything! The last I heard, he was still claiming his innocence. But Malacañang is so freaking nice that he was pardoned all the same. Ang BAIT naman ni Arroyo!

I just feel so cheated right now. I am assuming that plunder is a heinous crime considering that anyone convicted is sentenced to life imprisonment…but I guess it’s just good on paper. Apparently, we are such a forgiving nation that we can easily just forgive someone for making fools out of all of us. This has happened repeatedly throughout our history (case in point: THE MARCOSES). When will we learn? When will we have a government who would not be afraid of convicting and punishing one of its own?

How do we define justice then? Prove the guilt of a plunderer then set him free because he’s too old to go to jail–but wait! He’s not even in jail! He’s in his cozy house in Tanay…!

What CRAP! What a bunch of b***s**t!

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