CONSTITUTION,  NOT  PARDON  BARS  ERAP  FROM  2010  RACE

MANILA, JANUARY 18, 2009
(STAR) Former President Joseph Estrada cannot run for president again in 2010 because of a constitutional ban, and not due to a condition in the pardon granted him in 2007, according to President Arroyo’s election lawyer.

In a statement, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Mrs. Arroyo granted absolute pardon to Estrada on Oct. 25, 2007, contrary to the claim of Estrada’s former lawyer, Allan Paguia.

“It was not subject to any condition,” he said. “There is nothing in the pardon which provides for any condition for the grant of the pardon.”

Macalintal said Estrada’s disqualification arose from a prohibition in the Constitution, which he swore to “preserve and defend” when he was elected President in 1998.

“The President shall not be eligible for any reelection,” he said, quoting section 4, Article VII of the Constituion.

“Otherwise stated, when he took his oath as president in 1998, he knew the existence of the said provision of the Charter to which he swore, that as president, he ‘shall not be eligible for any reelection.’”

However, Macalintal said Estrada can run for vice-president in 2010.

“If he wins and something happens to the elected president, then he could become president; this time not by election, but by succession,” he said.

Macalintal said a clause in the pardon stating that Estrada “has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office,” cannot be considered as a “condition.”

“This clause merely articulated a general reason for granting the pardon, but not as a condition that could modify the terms of the pardon,” he said. – Edu Punay


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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