President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has granted executive clemency to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, in an order read by Acting Executive Secretary Ignacio Bunye at Malacanang Palace. The pardon takes effect immediately and negates the penalties resulting from Estrada's Sept. 12 plunder conviction before a special Sandiganbayan Court after six and half years of detention and prosecution by Philippine authorities. Transcript and audio recording of the announcement follows.
Downloadable MP3 of Grant of Executive Clemency (Pardon)
Whereas this administration has a policy of releasing prisoners who have reached the age of 70,
Whereas Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a half years,
Whereas Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or public office,
In view hereof, and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan and imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights. The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full, including all writs and processes issued by the Sandiganbayan in pursuance hereof, except for the bank accounts he owned before his tenure as President.
Upon acceptance of this pardon by Joseph Ejercito Estrada, this pardon shall take effect. Given under my hand, at the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in the year of our Lord, 2007.
Gloria M. Arroyo
Ignacio R. Bunye,
Acting Executive Secretary.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos was very much against the widely expected pardon. No wonder his man at Malacanang Palace, Executive Secretary Ed Ermita did not read the Grant of Executive Clemency and is reportedly on the other side of the world in New York.
Estrada lawyer Rene Saguisag told ABSCBN News that while he agreed with the grant of pardon for humanitarian purposes, he also characterized it as the "act of a tyrant" trying to mitigate her unconstitutional ouster of a sitting President in conspiracy with military and civilian leaders, starting one year before the historic events of January 2001, when indeed "Erap" was removed from office with the help of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo T. Reyes whose mutiny was later blessed by the Supreme Court as a "withdrawal of support" and most especially Hilario G. Davide, Jr. wearing the costume of the Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Saguisag noted with not a little chagrin and irony that a number of very high profile corrupt criminal personalities are still running around free in Philippine society and ought now to be prosecuted properly and finally punished. For eample: Imelda Marcos and a whole rack of Marcos cronies holding high positions and large business enterprises; Joc Joc Bolante of the fertilizer scam, as well as the aforementioned Gen. Reyes and Injustice Davide.