MEL STA.MARIA / SC ESTRADA RULING
ON ABSOLUTE PARDON EXPONENTIALLY
BY: MEL STA.MARIA
JANUARY 28,2015 8:08 AM
The third “WHEREAS” clause (which explains why the executives pardon was given) is explicit. The document categorically states that “Joseph Ejecito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office”. Considering that PLUNDEER was the offense involved in the pardon, this “Estrada-commitment” was the most important consideration for the grant of clemency. After the WHEREAS clauses, the instrument of pardon provided:
In view hereof and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.
The phrase “In view hereof” simply means because of what has been expressed in this instrument. And to reiterate, one of the explanation and intentions in the instrument of pardon was that Estrada will “no longer seek any elective position or office.” And surely Estrada knew such condition because he accepted the pardon and all its enunciations.
The restoration of “his civil and politicl rights” was therefore delineated by one limitation known to Estrada- that he “publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office”. This consideration is, in legal effect, a resolutory condition on the grants of clemency.
In law, a resolutory condition is a kind of condition which effectively causes the right granted to cease to exist once that condition is broken. Thus, if I enter into a contract stating that you can live in my mansion for as long as you do do not go abroad, you can live immediately in the mansion upon acceptance of the contract, but if you go to the US, even for a short visit, the contract is resolved or extinguished and you forfeit your right to live in the mansion. The right to be in the mansion will be taken away from you.
In the case of Estrada, he ran for public office. The resolution condition happened. He committed the prohibited undertaking which was the consideration of the pardon. It did not even matter whether he was or not. The pardon lost its effect even before he took office as Mayor. Its cessation commenced when Estrada filed his application to “seek” elective office. The consequences of the criminal judgement of plunder against him as determined by the Sandiganbayan must be fully restored and implemented as if the pardon never existed.
Plunder is the highest and most evil crime a public official can commit. There are no other more serious offense brazenly manifestaing betrayal of the public trust. Correspondingly, the Presidency is the highest government office. The people elect the President trusting that he will serve honestly. There can no other official more powerful than the President.
If the highest crime is committed by the highest official, the highest penalty must be meted out in its highest application. And if, in his favor, he is extended executive pardon, any resolution of its ambiguity must always be resolved in favor, not of the greatest grant of liberty, but of the least transmission of civil and political rights. For that is the pervading spirit of the Constitution – one of public accountability and not of impunity. It cannot simply be “business as usual.”
Ugaliing manood sa Royal Cable TV Program Kasandigan ng Bayan” Martes at Miyerkules 9 to 12 noon. Mayor Abner Afuang with Royal Cable TTV-6 Manager & Southern-Tagalog Broadcast Journalist Assn-Inc President Cris Sanji.
Maraming Salamat po. Godspeed.
ni Abner Afuang