The nice folks who write editorials at the Philippine Daily Innuendo appear to be in shock and awe over the Resurrection of Joseph Estrada. Being such good Catholics, this is surely a waking nightmare for them, so swiftly has it happened. One day Erap is convicted of Plunder after being overthrown in a People Power fantasy sequel; then he's suddenly pardoned by GMA. Before they know it, they are headlining his possible retaking of a Presidency stolen with their complicity and unrepentant help. Or the beginnings of an Estrada Dynasty. No wonder they are aghast at his seemingly inexorable march back to the halls of power, either as Kingmaker or King himself in 2010, if not sooner. Erap may do them one better in the matter of People Power. From the political grave they had so assiduously helped to dig for him, he uprises like a Phoenix, barnstorming all over the archipelago, touching base with local political leaders and friends. Having a merrie old time, basking in the apparent good will of most of his countrymen. Perhaps not having run away with a guilty tail between his legs like Marcos or Jocjoc Bolante, won Erap a measure of respect from even his enemies. Today Erap announced he will revive a movie career that also brought him to Malacanang and the summit of power.
What is happening right now is the script of every big movie Erap ever made, in which the lowest point is just before the heroic comeback. This could be hard for the Edsa Dos Die Hards who've never, ever seen through Hilario Davide and are to this day, his worshipful dupes!
PDI still calls the 2001 Supreme Court putsch, "a military backed popular revolt". Yet, ever more perfect hindsight and the cold objectivity of historical distance establishes and confirms that Edsa Dos was coup d'etat -- an extra-Constitutional Presidential regime change engineered by the Vice president and carried out by the Supreme Court Chief Justice and Armed Forced Chief of Staff.
However, GMA's pardon of Joseph Estrada may yet be her undoing. The restoration of Erap's civil and political rights means he could now bring criminal and civil suits against Hilario Davide for mooting and aborting the historic December 2000 Senate Impeachment Trial -- a grave dereliction of duty and betrayal of his oath of affirmation as presiding judge. Davide had no business swearing in the Vice President on 20 January 2001, and I am bone weary of Edsa Dos Diehards using the excuse that it was "to prevent violence" -- when they should say it was to prevent the threatened murder at gunpoint of an incumbent President unless he vacated the Palace to give the impression of vacating the presidency itself.
Erap should have Angie Reyes charged with mutiny, insubordination and coup d'etat for his mutinous and rebellious actions on 19 January 2001. Erap ought to do this in order to re-establish the old fashioned principle that "Crime Does Not Pay" as an antidote to the sheer casuistry of the Supreme Court in how it construed the role of Gen. Angelo T. Reyes in those historic events. The principle that "withdrawal of support" is ok if it succeeds is the Constitutional humbug that is the stuffing of Estrada v. Arroyo (2001).
Oh but that's right. Erap says jail has mellowed him out and he has forgiven his tormentors and those who drove him from office. Maybe Angie and Davide should hope Erap stays away from the demon rhum.
He may also be too busy with politics and movie making.
Today's headlines say Erap is investing in the future of his son, Senate President Pro Tempore, Jinggoy Estrada, who could indeed run for the Vice Presidency with Manny Villar and win with Erap's ample help in the 2010 campaign.
Had Davide reconvened the impeachment court, as duty and reason dictated, Erap would likely have been acquitted. But in the three years he had left, he would've been weaker than a lame duck, and circumspect about any further plunder. The country could easily have survived three more years of Erap. He would've been in the rear view mirror by 2004, with the President succeeding him probably mandated to expunge his memory from the record. Instead, because of Davide's insane junking of the clear and incontrovertible Constitutional mandate to uphold the impeachment process in January 2001, here we now are in January 2008, staring at the prospect of Erap and his brood at the ramparts of power, forever, coz of Davide's dereliction of duty! Never was it truer that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And what a royal road is laid by Chief Justices when they err!
Thanks Justice Davide. You really screwed the pooch good and hard on this one, Your Honor! Thanks to you, now, only God can get rid of Erap.