Only in the Philippines
Barely two months since Joseph Estrada was convicted of plunder, elements of the government moved swiftly to work out an easy way out for the disgraced leader. There were still some pride from Erap and his lawyers but apparently the overwhelming evidence or their belief that Philippine justice is just inefficient–changed their mind and they opted to forward a plea for pardon.
To ensure that any prayer for pardon will not be hindered by any legal glitch, Estrada’s lawyers withdrew their appeal and forwarded a proposal for a full, free and unconditional pardon (now, here’s a convict dictating the terms of how he should be forgiven). Despite the possibility of breaking the law, the play was laid and the convict was given executive clemency even before having a taste of the breeze at the national penitentiary.
It all so happened so fast that the movement against any clemency became nothing just as it was about to pick-up. The government said that “a court ruling that forfeited Estrada’s villa and more than $15.5 million in bank accounts believed to be owned by him would remain in effect.”–for how long, one could only guess.
Arroyo defended her action as being motivated by call for unity, rule of law(???) and justice.
I’m wondering had Marcos lived longer and was strong enough to stand trial and assuming that the Aquinos and Marcoses were not that bitter enemies, Marcos for sure will definitely receive an executive clemency. I might want to add my voice that Arroyo was motivated to survive her term and avoid the unwanted attention from a number of bribery accusation and another round for calls of her impeachment.
Now, whether this will lead to unity, rule of law and justice. Only time will tell, though there are already signs of definite divisions in the country, but this event only showed that justice is not blind, only in the Philippines.