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Gratuitous punishments
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on September 13, 2007 205 Comments 9 min read
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Courtesy of the BBC, a portrait of Convicted Estrada’s tranquil jail (hat tip to how now, brownpau? who also deserves a prize for most startling Estrada-related image).

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ in his column, explains what the crime of plunder is, and points out that unless accompanied by conditions, a convict can’t refuse a pardon:

Incidentally, Estrada has already said that he will not accept pardon. It is worth noting, however, that only conditional pardon requires acceptance.

An absolute pardon becomes effective even if not accepted.

Amando Doronila says the Estrada conviction sets the stage for an uneasy Arroyo post-presidency, to put it mildly (bloggers such as Careless Thoughts express similar sentiments). In my column today, Estrada’s ghost army, I do point out that things have reached the point where Estrada’s wrongdoings look like small potatoes compared to the goings-on in the present government (and you only have to look at the ZTE deal, a huge can of worms).

It was also significant, I thought, that even as Estrada faced conviction in court, political leaders were practically falling over themselves to be seen with him, or at least to let everyone (including, most of all, Estrada himself) know they sympathized with the man. In contrast, the President had hunkered down in the Palace with her cabinet, and no one was making a beeline to see and be seen at Fortress Malacanang. This is a pretty galling indication of just who, exactly, the political class thinks will be more relevant come 2010. With relevance comes influence.

Going back to Estrada’s crimes and punishment. In Inquirer Current, I tackled two points of view. To understand the rise and fall of Estrada, and his subsequent (partial) political rehabilitation since then, can be explained by means of a simple axiom: you do not kick a man when he is down. I also discussed something a UP Prof., Prospero de Vera, said on TV yesterday: the Filipino concept of justice is one of restitution and not retribution.

The former presidents of South Korea imprisoned for crimes much more serious than those for which Joseph Estrada was convicted, were imprisoned for only a year before being pardoned. The justification for the pardons goes to the heart of the position I personally held, vis-a-vis the decision to detain Estrada in the first place.

In conversations I had during that time, I remember saying I opposed his being thrown in jail upon the filing of charges. My reasons were simple. I felt that he deserved consideration both as a former president, and because he’d relinquished power without bloodshed. Of course a lot of counter-arguments were made, the rule of law, etc., etc., but I felt that it would be perceived as kicking a man when he’s down, and that a newly-installed government whose legitimacy rested on a pretty unsatisfactory Supreme Court decision, was in a poor position to insist on an inflexible application of legal procedure. It was reckless and imprudent to ferociously apply the law when your legality hasn’t had time to be fully settled.

Had Estrada been left in the comfort of his North Greenhills home, placed, perhaps, under house arrest, then carted to and from the venue of his trial, you wouldn’t have had Edsa Tres. I wish I could locate Fr. Bernas’s column where he pointed out that Estrada’s status as a prisoner was sui generis, and thus couldn’t properly be compared to that of an ordinary felon. His legal argument was made long after the Estrada arrest, if I recall correctly.

In light of what Prof. de Vera said, which I think is very true, and in view of the South Korean experience, it might also be more productive to revisit the law penalizing plunder, and refocus it on enabling the authorities to recover ill-gotten wealth from officials. That satisfies the requirements of justice; it avoids turning erring officials into martyrs; and it addresses a reality we all know: money is power. Conviction, in and of itself, carries great symbolic weight; beyond confiscation of ill-gotten wealth or property, any further punishment for an elected official is gratuitous.

Of course, there are those who’d strongly disagree (the conviction is “one point for the thinking Filipino,” says Blowing My Mind Off). See Erap verdict and our affair with the law by Miriam Coronel Ferrer (who is more inclined for a “rule orientation”) and Guilty! But Special Concessions for Accused Show Flawed System, by Karen Tiongson-Mayrina.

Blogger chizjarkace thinks Estrada’s still exactly in the same position he was before the verdict. Rasheed’s World thinks the conviction has less impact because not only does Chavit Singson remain scott free, but it remains to be seen whether similar high-profile cases can even get off the ground (ricelander expresses similar thoughts; Philippine Experience wonders if those who went after Estrada would go after the President with equal vigor). A good way of seeing how one case can point to a larger injustice is in Exposing a Corrupt Prosecution and Trial in Alabama, in Harper’s Magazine’s blog:

Like tin-horned Central American dictators of old, the Bush crew believes that it can and should use the criminal justice system to take out its political enemies. It does this in a brazen way. And it has no shortage of ostensibly independent helpers to see its schemes along on their merry way. When the story is fully told, the “independent” players will be exposed as not remotely independent. This was an across-the-board systems failure.

This cautionary note (no legal system is immune from the risks of being used for partisan ends) brings up another. Charles Cunningham’s The Residencia in Spanish Colonies explores (with a particular focus on the Philippines) the Spanish colonial institution of the audit of officials as soon as they left office, or embarked to take on a new one. Praiseworthy in its intentions, in practical terms it proved a disaster. As Cunnigham wote, in the conclusion of his paper:

The residencia was essentially a Spanish institution. Its principles were inherited from the Romans. It was adapted through three hundred years to the needs of a vast colonial empire. It cannot be said that it was a success. Its purpose was to deter government officials from abuses rather than to inculcate a sincere desire on their part to fulfill the duties of their offices conscientiously and justly. The necessity for the residencia would have been eliminated by a more careful selection of men for offices. The residencia was the culmination of a period of service in an office which had been purchased, usually, and which was not regarded as an opportunity for service but as a means of yielding the greatest possible profit to its holder. Aside from the obvious defects of such a system, the residencia came too late in the period of service, held as it was at the end of the term. It sought to punish offenders and correct evils rather than to prevent them. This was the most serious fault of the residencia.

Still, going back to my proposal to revisit the plunder law, a system for the public audit and determination of accountability of all public officials, upon the expiration of their terms of office, might be a good option to explore as well.

Interesting observation by james_cartmire, on the Escuderos:

on a different note, i’m sensing the escuderos are positioning themselves to become part of the coalition majority soon. whether it’s in preparation for 2010 or just to gain power favors from malacañang, i don’t know, but they are recently sounding off something intriguingly ‘pro-administration’.

representative salvador escudero (chiz’s father) for one has been vocal on giving pointers to gma that borders political objectivity and classic butt-kissing-in-denial. in one news stroy i read last week (i just can’t recall what story it was exactly), the older escudero was advising gma on what he thinks she ought to do with a rather non-oppositionist tone. and on another occassion, he repeatedly praised health secretary francisco duque during a budget hearing; he commended duque and said that he should really should consider replacing presidential spokesperson ignacio bunye, since he was successfully able to explain the rationale of their budget request, unlike gma’s ‘spokespersons’ who often only make a situation worse for her by not being able to clearly explain and/or coming off as arrogant.

the younger escudero, chiz, on the other hand, has been reportedly working very close with gma’s economic team on pursuing malacañang’s legislative agenda on macroeconomic affairs in the senate (finance secretary margarito teves said so). hmm.. i guess we’ll hear more of the escuderos soon enough.

Latest news is that Jose Ma. Sison is due to be released from detention, but the dissatisfaction of his admirers with those who approved of the arrest will long endure. As we have no names puts it,

I can only look at the context of those blog writers. It did not surprise me one bit when I discover that these writers are also those who support Tuition and Other Fee Increases, the intensified exploitation of foreign corporations of our natural resources, and show a double standard when it comes to the violation of the rights’ of UP students (yes, they get all sanctimonious with the death of Cris Mendez, but show indifference to Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, showing that if you’re a Leftist, its ok for them if you get killed). In short, I can only express regret how certain people, under the cloak of “freedom of speech” propagate the most malicious of the Arroyo Regime’s propaganda.

UPDATE: Joma Sison Release from prison an hour ago in Scheveningen. Live photos!

Bankok Pundit wonders how a Thai general can express admiration for Mao Zedong.

Czechews reports residency permits are going to be easier to obtain, because of a shortage of skilled labor. OFWs will most likely explore this option soon enough.

Lighter reading: reason is the reason on funerals. In Fraternam Meam on the debate (reaching the courts) on who invented (ugh!) Karaoke.

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  1. mlq3,

    The fate of Erap and GMA depends on who seats next.

    That’s why a GMA-all-the-way unlimited edition scenario is amnong the top most likely scenarios if there’s no strong pro-GMA presidentiable she can bank on comes up. Martial law … revolutionary gov’t … new constitution — a parliamentary form of government. GMA will more likely make a pre-emptive move than face the situation when she has lost the advantage of her position. Her allies who wouldn’t benefit from an amnesty exchange deal and scared shit of facing accountability will push GMA to go for the home run.

    A scenario where a presidentiable who rans on a platform of reconcilliation — joint amnesty for Erap and GMA — is voted into office is, i think, a compromise senario for every one — a win-win solution.

    A zero-sum scenario where nobody wins,everyone looses could loom if no viable option develops in the run-up to 2010.

    Now is the time for the protagonists, espacially the people, to seriously consider the options. There’s a three-year window of opportunity for all sides to discern which is the way out of the mess we’re in.

    At a crossroads we’re a people desperate for a leader with a clear vision of where we are and where we are headed for.

  2. [Resubmitting…Could’ve sworn i posted this before.]

    Bencard, i’ve read that Estrada may not have been guilty of plunder because technically, plunder needs to involve the public funds. As Ninez-Cacho Olivares says:

    Where was the plunder then that the Sandiganbayan Special Division justices claimed Erap Estrada committed when they declared him guilty of plunder in two instances, namely, the commissions from the BW shares of stocks and the jueteng payoffs while acquitting him of two other plunder charges, namely, the P130-million tobacco excise tax diversion and the Jose Velarde account, since neither the BW commissions nor the jueteng payoffs came from public funds?

    What’s your legal opinion on this?

  3. same with u cvj. i think wordpress might’ve had a glitch. i tried to post a previous message as well, was surprised it was gone after a while.
    anyway, it was just a plain old rant abt a pet peeve of mine. i wasn’t planning to say anything except the occurrence of the mistake keeps happening frequently. id like to speak out before the 2 words are interchanged for good. remember, im not a stickler for grammar rules, spelling, structure, or even form. But when some words get mangled like this…
    Lose – the act of losing something or the act of not winning
    Loose – to let go, not fitting (maluwag)

    jz a heads up. when even people like hvrds interchange the use of this 2. nothing agst ur post pinoy. in fact, i agree with the last part of ur post.

    it just bugs me.

  4. Devil adv8:What bugs you?it’s a weekend! smile hijo!

    “I wouldn’t mind if you were nice to me once in a blue moon.”
    – Gridiron Night, NPC
    GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO,President pf The Philippines

    April 20, 2001

  5. Cvj,

    Well I have no doubt someone else can answer your query. I was just browsing around and haven’t really read as much on the issue (haven’t read the decision either)as I could but the following might be interesting.

    REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7080

    Section 1. Definition of terms. – As used in this Act, the term:
    a. “Public Officer” means any person holding any public office in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines by virtue of an appointment, election or contract.

    d. “Ill-gotten wealth” means any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession of any person within the purview of Section two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
    1.
    2. By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or BY REASON of the office or position of the public officer concerned;
    3.
    4. By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (Don’t know if this applied but I decided to paste it anyway)
    5.
    6. By taking undue advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.

    Sec. 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder; Penalties. – Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State.
    ——-

    Don’t know where Olivarez got her idea but I think she interpreted differently.

  6. mb,

    Got your point. How the trial was conducted and presented to the public determine its credibility. In other words it was as ‘honest, credible and fair’ trial as the elections under GMA — specially the 2004 elections.

  7. To my countrymen:

    “The days of PLUNDER are over!”
    Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
    President of the Philippines

    – Press Conference,March 20, 2001

  8. justice league,

    Is a motion for reconsideration by Erap a good move? Can Atong Ang now testify? Lalong madidiin si Erap.

  9. taga de cebu,

    The plunder of our patrimony at full blast under GMA is unquantifiable and unconscionable. Widespread, wide-scale large-scale mining concessions are given to foreigners who ship out tons of ores instead of processed goods. Many are able to skip tax altogether aside from leaving the sites as toxified wastelands.

  10. Dear PINOY:

    ” We are also implementing austerity measures to do more with less, a peso worth of result for every peso we spend”

    Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
    President,Republic of the Philippines

    – Speech, Business Meeting with PCCI
    February 21, 2001

  11. Wait a minute. As i read most of the bloggers, as well as comments of prominent people in our society, justice will not be complete without the persecution of GMA allies whom they alleged as corrupt or more corrupt than Erap.
    So, Erap was successful, very, in turning the tables on his opponents. He was successful in turning his trial into a political circus, not process of ferreting out truth and rendering justice.
    If ever allies of Erap become sucuessful in taking power via election or in whatever manner, people will not be revulsive if a proper couret reverse the decsion of the Sandiganbayan.
    And another miscarriage of justice. But who’s to blame. I think it is the present administration who failed to present his trial and conviction as a triumph of the rule of law but rather successful in portraying the truial and verdict as crude form of political persecution.

  12. To my countrymen:

    ” The truth is I am cute and short but I am above gossip.”

    President Gloria Macapagal -Arroyo

    – Gridiron Night
    April 20, 2001

  13. Pinoy,

    Well I haven’t really given much thought on the issues concerned but I’ll try to answer.

    I think testimony from Atong Ang will depend much from the decision of the defense at this point unless a new trial is underway, etc…

    With regards to the motion for reconsideration; well, ex-FL Imelda Marcos was found guilty by the Sandiganbayan which however was overturned by the SC.

    Maybe a look at how long the SC decided on that matter can shed some light.

    She was initially found guilty on Sept. 1993 by the First division. It was affirmed by the Sandiganbayan Third division on June 1998.

    But it took the SC only up to October of that same year
    to reach their decision(which turned out to be favorable to her).

    I honestly believe that the elections in 3 years time is playing a big part in the decision to go back to the SandiganBayan rather than immediately go to the SC (where an early but unfavorable decision is likely devastating). Of course I’m not sure on that.

  14. Pinoy,

    Oooopss!

    Made a mistake in claiming that the 3rd division was from the Sandiganbayan.

    It was already from the SC.

    So it took about 5 years for the SC to finally settle her issue after it came from the SandiganBayan.

    But still I think ex-Pres. Estrada’s side is more of temporizing on the matter.

  15. Justice League, thanks for the response. I think definition #6 of Section 1 is enough to consider Erap’s actions as plunder so Ninez is mistaken to limit the scope of the crime to cover only public funds.

    Devils, now that you’ve mentioned it, i remember reading your polemic on ‘loose’ vs. ‘lose’. Thanks for confirming that i’m not yet going insane. 🙂

  16. I’ve been getting text messages that the mystery man in the NBN deal is Buboy Macapagal, Gloria’s low-profile brother.

    Ano kaya kung totoo yun, ano kaya if Joey de Venecia names him in next Tuesday’s Senae Blue Ribbon hearing?

    What will Gloria’s defenders have to say then?

  17. My replies to Manolo were also missing after I saw it posted yesterday.

    Anyways, Im just saying that I have no issue with your consistency. My issue is on the inconsistencies of what you have been writing recently against your different advocacies…..

  18. TDC,

    In your SWOT analysis of Mr.Palengke; does the strengths offset the weakneaes and like wise the Opporunities offset the threats?

    I hope your answer would be like your comment on my comment regarding gordon…and not a quotation. 🙂

  19. in don’t want to make you puke so I won’t mention the two guys names .

    Villar won 15-7

    is that the main reason of your indigestion with the two that they are included in the 15.

    Pimentel accepted his defeat(I think),and we will see what Cayetano is made of on his blue ribbon committee hearings.
    Is is he all talk ,like Rego wanted to point out.

    Even if Lacson did not get the post(blue ribbon),he gets what he wants to be investigated.

    And TDC,what say you,on Villar’s questioning again of the EO464,is it all a PR ploy?

  20. “Those who argue that similar cases should be filed against Arroyo and Company are conveniently forgetting that she is still in power”

    ayan na nga ang tinastanong ni rego ke Cayetano: nasaan daw ang ebidensya at ngayon nasa blue ribbon na sya:bakit di daw nya gamitin ang new powers nya.

    gamitin pa nga daw nya lahat ng laman ng kahong kahong ebidensya na meron sya nuon.

    kung dati sa senado din nagsimula ang “I accuse”
    na namukha pang dracula si guingona nuon at natunaw si Enrile,bago nag ka impeachment,baka pwede din maulit.

    kaso di nga pwede sa ngayon,sayang lang ang oras dahil plantsado na o prefab na o made in macao na.

  21. Bencard fwiw, i saved your posts (at Sept 16 9:39am, Sept 16 9:41pm and Sept 17 12:20am) from the other version of this thread. Welcome to Toting Bunye’s WordPress.

  22. rego, the flaw i see in your comment is, charges flow out of an assumption: when cases were filed against estrada, people didn’t say, “let us investigate and see maybe, perhaps, who knows, something might be fishy.” they said, “hey, he took x, stole y, looted z.” that’s where the impeachment then the court stepped in, to determine if this was so. so at present, the accusations against the president are at a similar point, except it will certainly take a lot more work, because to be blunt about it, estrada was uniquely crass and obvious about his misdeeds. in a sense that can help explain why estrada was doomed, legally, in 6 years, the marcoses are still fighting it out: fm was, after all, not only a brilliant lawyer but hired brilliant lawyers and didn’t trust local banks.

    ——————————————————–

    Manolo,

    It could be that the crassness of Estrada misbehavior prevented people from entertaining doubts about his misdeed. The media especially the PCIJ has published all the photos of Estrada excesses . Then there is a an eyewitness account from the like of Chavit. Pinoys can be very visual you know. But just the same Erap did undergo some sort of investigation through impeachment.
    Then the people that work against Erap then just worker harder that the people that work against Gloria.

    One thing I noticed too is that while the opposition know very well that Gloria is a tougher and smarter breed than Erap, they never change strategies. They went on with the old and jaded stategies used on Erap which the Aroyo mastered to evade., Like people power, resignation.( eh kung si Erap nag dedeny pa rin hanggang nagyon na nag resign sya eh, tapos dadaanin pa rin sa paresign resign si Gloria)

    Honestly, I like that idea of one Ateneo professor in our group during the Garci scandal. since Gloria wont resign, then let malacanang be her prison cell. Make her really work for the country. Bantayan na ng husto and constantly threaten her wit impeachment everytime she misbehave. Then when her immunity expired bring her to court.

    I agree with you that prosecuting Gloria after her term would be very difficult. But then if we hant her to pay for whatever crime she comited while in power then we just have to prosecute her after her term.

    I really believe that we handled Erap in a very emotional manner consequently so many rules, laws, and principle were broken. That explains the never ending debates until now.And this is the reason why I dont want to employ the same emotional approach on the Gloria problem. I want very step in accordance to the law, rules and principles that we already had. That I believe will miminimize the never ending debates, confusions and bickerings. It woudl be more orderly therefore the damage to country will be minimal too.

    Mike Aroyo is has faced all the investigation against him. But the problem is the evidence against him is just not enough to pin him down. The same way tha Erap evade some other crimes like Boracay mansion, the Dacer kilings, the disapperance of the casino worker who leaked that casino video etc etc.

  23. rego, the flaw i see in your comment is, charges flow out of an assumption: when cases were filed against estrada, people didn’t say, “let us investigate and see maybe, perhaps, who knows, something might be fishy.” they said, “hey, he took x, stole y, looted z.” that’s where the impeachment then the court stepped in, to determine if this was so. so at present, the accusations against the president are at a similar point, except it will certainly take a lot more work, because to be blunt about it, estrada was uniquely crass and obvious about his misdeeds. in a sense that can help explain why estrada was doomed, legally, in 6 years, the marcoses are still fighting it out: fm was, after all, not only a brilliant lawyer but hired brilliant lawyers and didn’t trust local banks.

    ——————————————————–

    Manolo,

    It could be that the crassness of Estrada misbehavior prevented people from entertaining doubts about his misdeed. The media especially the PCIJ has published all the photos of Estrada excesses . Then there is a an eyewitness account from the like of Chavit. Pinoys can be very visual you know. But just the same Erap did undergo some sort of investigation through impeachment.
    Then the people that work against Erap then just worker harder that the people that work against Gloria.

    One thing I noticed too is that while the opposition know very well that Gloria is a tougher and smarter breed than Erap, they never change strategies. They went on with the old and jaded stategies used on Erap which the Aroyo mastered to evade., Like people power, resignation.( eh kung si Erap nag dedeny pa rin hanggang nagyon na nag resign sya eh, tapos dadaanin pa rin sa paresign resign si Gloria)

    Honestly, I like that idea of one Ateneo professor in our group during the Garci scandal. since Gloria wont resign, then let malacanang be her prison cell. Make her really work for the country. Bantayan na ng husto and constantly threaten her wit impeachment everytime she misbehave. Then when her immunity expired bring her to court.

    I agree with you that prosecuting Gloria after her term would be very difficult. But then if we hant her to pay for whatever crime she comited while in power then we just have to prosecute her after her term.

    I really believe that we handled Erap in a very emotional manner consequently so many rules, laws, and principle were broken. That explains the never ending debates until now.And this is the reason why I dont want to employ the same emotional approach on the Gloria problem. I want very step in accordance to the law, rules and principles that we already had. That I believe will miminimize the never ending debates, confusions and bickerings. It woudl be more orderly therefore the damage to country will be minimal too.

    Mike Aroyo is has faced all the investigation against him. But the problem is the evidence against him is just not enough to pin him down. The same way tha Erap evade some other crimes like Boracay mansion, the Dacer kilings, the disapperance of the casino worker who leaked that casino video etc etc……….

  24. but baka isipin mo naman na masyado akong antipatiko pagdating sa mga comments mo…

    ——————–

    No, Manolo, I did not feel that way. Ang feeling ko nga ako ang antipatiko sa yong mga write ups eh…

    Pagdating naman sa pag rereply, I am not really bothered much on how people replied to any comments. After all, the way we reply to any comments reflects more on our character than on teh people that we are replying.

    I give more importance on the message of the reply rather that the way reply was made. And I woudl say you expressed than your message to me really well.

  25. honestly it’s people like you, rego, who keep everyone else grounded. and if you weren’t pointing out the need to focus on establishing a new basis for whatever administration comes next, yung mga engaged on one side or another of the present political fence might just ignore the coming challenges until it’s too late. so kelangan talaga i-point out na hindi alpha at omega ng buhay sila gma and jee.
    ———————————

    I can se your point, Manolo. It could also happen that way.

    But then rather than going in a boring and nausaeting Gloria/Erap circle of hell. Id rather have everyone grounded. Its not gong any where anyway. What the whoel point?

    Better disengage, sober up , calm down , absorbed oall the learnings from what was happening, to be able to gather enough strength and wisdom and stategize stategically for the more important task facing us.

    I belive the real foundation of the next administration is the learning of the people from the Gloria, Erap even Cory and Marcos mess. If the peopel did not learn at all then teh country is doomed no matter who will be the next president is.

  26. rego’s comments made a lightbulb switch on over my head. in a siege, both the besieged and those laying siege end up drowning in their own filth.

    ————————————————-

    Im really sorry if you feel besieged. I just wanted more clarifications from your recent writing which I find very inconsistent to your advocies even bordering on hypcorisy

  27. rego, the flaw i see in your comment is, charges flow out of an assumption: when cases were filed against estrada, people didn’t say, “let us investigate and see maybe, perhaps, who knows, something might be fishy.” they said, “hey, he took x, stole y, looted z.” that’s where the impeachment then the court stepped in, to determine if this was so. so at present, the accusations against the president are at a similar point, except it will certainly take a lot more work, because to be blunt about it, estrada was uniquely crass and obvious about his misdeeds. in a sense that can help explain why estrada was doomed, legally, in 6 years, the marcoses are still fighting it out: fm was, after all, not only a brilliant lawyer but hired brilliant lawyers and didn’t trust local banks.

    ——————————————————–

    Manolo,

    It could be that the crassness of Estrada misbehavior prevented people from entertaining doubts about his misdeed. The media especially the PCIJ has published all the photos of Estrada excesses . Then there is a an eyewitness account from the like of Chavit. Pinoys can be very visual you know. But just the same Erap did undergo some sort of investigation through impeachment.
    Then the people that work against Erap then just worker harder that the people that work against Gloria.

    One thing I noticed too is that while the opposition know very well that Gloria is a tougher and smarter breed than Erap, they never change strategies. They went on with the old and jaded stategies used on Erap which the Aroyo mastered to evade., Like people power, resignation.( eh kung si Erap nag dedeny pa rin hanggang nagyon na nag resign sya eh, tapos dadaanin pa rin sa paresign resign si Gloria)

    Honestly, I like that idea of one Ateneo professor in our group during the Garci scandal. since Gloria wont resign, then let malacanang be her prison cell. Make her really work for the country. Bantayan na ng husto and constantly threaten her wit impeachment everytime she misbehave. Then when her immunity expired bring her to court.

    I agree with you that prosecuting Gloria after her term would be very difficult. But then if we hant her to pay for whatever crime she comited while in power then we just have to prosecute her after her term.

    I really believe that we handled Erap in a very emotional manner consequently so many rules, laws, and principle were broken. That explains the never ending debates until now.And this is the reason why I dont want to employ the same emotional approach on the Gloria problem. I want very step in accordance to the law, rules and principles that we already had. That I believe will miminimize the never ending debates, confusions and bickerings. It woudl be more orderly therefore the damage to country will be minimal too.

    Mike Aroyo is has faced all the investigation against him. But the problem is the evidence against him is just not enough to pin him down. The same way tha Erap evade some other crimes like Boracay mansion, the Dacer kilings, the disapperance of the casino worker who leaked that casino video etc etc………………….

  28. “If President Gloria Arroyo were running an election campaign, her slogan could be: “Vote for Me — And If You Don’t Like Me, Even Better, Leave and Send Money Home.” At least tacitly, the Philippines encourages ever more citizens to leave.”

    “Asia’s developing economies must avoid falling deeper into this trap. The argument for remittances in the short run is sensible enough. In the long run, though, an economy’s biggest export should never be its people.” William Pesek, Bloomberg

    Just keep sending those dollars home folks, we have to keep our enlightened aristocrats presently led by Big Mike and GMA and off course Erap in the standards they are used to living. Pardon or amnesty, what is the difference, if he could keep the decision from ever being final and die while under appeal he could die without a final conviction.

    Don’t you worry as Wowwowee will be coming soon to your neighborhood to initiate you in the global pinoy nation. .

    Let us start now on selecting our next elected autocrat from Villar, Roxas, de Castro, Gordon, Legarda etc.

    It is time we gave a new family a crack at raiding the treasury all over again.

  29. What do Macoy/Erap/Ate Glo have in common:

    * They were/are so arrogant – they think they are so smart that no one will catch their blatant lies.
    * They were/are stupid – they left big holes in the story that most people would be able to fly a commercial plane through it.
    * They were/are liars without a sense of ethics and would do anything to get ahead.

  30. “Lil Dick” Gordon was at his most arrogant self in the”interrogation” of Doble in the Senate. Parang pang subic lang talaga,”barking orders” like a feudal lord. tsk.tsk.tsk…

  31. whoa, my earlier post was lost too! i was very sure i‘ve posted this earlier.

    bencard, if you have been observant you should have known that the outrage happened a long time ago to be specific, march 20 2001, and the result was the disgraceful and forceful ouster of estrada. that’s the ultimate consequence of that outrage. the people have succeeded in stopping him from further abusing the power entrusted in him. as for the verdict, it’s just an affirmation to the legitimacy of that move. the people is done with estrada. he’s finished. but there’s another outrage. it started last june 2005 (if you know what i mean). it’s continuously building up w/ anomalies after anomalies committed and if you are one of those right thinking filipinos that you’ve mentioned, you should be outrage too. otherwise, you are one hypocrite person too for practicing the same double standard that you’re deploring here. you and your alter (r)ego cannot blame estrada now for the divisiveness and the obscurity that’s continuously engulfing the country. but one thing i’m certain, gloria will suffer the same fate as estrada. they might receive pardon from their crimes but they, together w/ their family and future members will be subjected to extreme humiliation. because unlike hubert web and other ordinary criminals, their stories will forever be inscribed in our history books and passed on to future generations.

  32. by the way, what happened to the P130M proceeds from tobacco excise tax since the testimony of singson was trashed by the sandiganbayan? and what happened to the share of kurakot ni singson? did he return all of these to the government as part of a deal?

  33. “Mike Aroyo is has faced all the investigation against him. But the problem is the evidence against him is just not enough to pin him down. The same way tha Erap evade some other crimes like Boracay mansion, the Dacer kilings, the disapperance of the casino worker who leaked that casino video etc etc……….”

    Would you think evidence against Estrada, a single one of them including the jueting kickbacks, the excise tobacco taxes withdrawal would stick if say for example it was his “Erap” (Buddy) who is in Malacanang? And would you think if the investigation against Mike Arroyo will not go “full steam ahead if Gloria was overthrown and both of them are charged of any Crime? Weder, weder lang yan, kung sin-o na sa poder may evidensiya, pag wala, pasensiya…that is the rule of law as it stands now. Show me any in the administration that is not coated with “Teflon” and I’ll show you a fully cloth deposed emperor.

  34. MB writes
    “I’ve been getting text messages that the mystery man in the NBN deal is Buboy Macapagal, Gloria’s low-profile brother.”

    From Newsbreak:

    “De Venecia mentioned businessman Ruben Cesar C. Reyes’s name in the Inquirer story as one of those who attended a breakfast meeting with him and Abalos at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong over the controversial US$329-million National Broadband Network project.

    “…Reyes is likewise a good friend of the President’s younger brother, Diosdado “Buboy” Macapagal Jr.”

    Perhaps MB is correct.

  35. Since we are into trivial pursuits at times.

    HVRDS says:
    (Lesson: share power or literally loose your head)

    Devil’s dictionary says:
    Lose – the act of losing something or the act of not winning
    Loose – to let go, not fitting (maluwag)

    lose cannot apply because the head is not lost,if you want to reaattach it.

    but to define loose as to let go; needs double checking.
    ever heard of the song” I don’t want to lose you.

  36. I remember a teacher reminding us of her pet peeves.
    It’s like saying don’t mind me, just don’t keep on doing that thing you do…
    Of course we did the later.

  37. I beg your endulgence for my spelling devil’s,kahit ako naiinis pagakatapos ko basahin ang mga posts ko.

  38. WTF,another wrong spelling. me spel lcheck naman kasi at dictionary.com

    Back to the topic at hand….

    HVRDS says just allow another autocrat and another surname to reign supreme.

    what does he want then,we go for an automaton,instead?

    I would rather have none of those two.

    Digressing a bit

    I think we stop looking at other countries’ leaders and learn from all the messes we’ve created.

    Look for a role model in them,from all the good in them and all the bad in them,na sa tingin ko,nandito na halos lahat sa commnet thread ng topic na ito,and of course from previous entries,na sa tingin ko wala pa ding kupas.

  39. UMALIS NA!

    Mike Arroyo slips out on eve of Senate ZTE probe

    By Tarra Quismundo
    Inquirer
    Last updated 06:44pm (Mla time) 09/17/2007

    MANILA, Philippines–First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo slipped out of the country at sunset Monday, the eve of the Senate investigation into the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

    Arroyo was last to board Cathay Pacific flight CX-918 some 10 minutes before the plane took off for Hong Kong at 5:55 p.m. It was not clear whether he was to take a connecting flight to another destination.

  40. “In your SWOT analysis of Mr.Palengke; does the strengths offset the weakneaes and like wise the Opporunities offset the threats?

    I hope your answer would be like your comment on my comment regarding gordon…and not a quotation. KG”

    In the past, we always chose the lesser evil in election.I honestly think that Mar Roxas is not the lesser evil but the Best choice in 2010.I’m not looking at him with rose-colored glasses.He has weaknesses(“SPINELESS”) but who is perfect anyway?

    I know for a fact that he was a most reluctant politician at the start.He was doing very well in Wall Street.So he he is not the consumate politician like your Ate glue.

  41. Ronaldo Puno:Poltical Adviser to three president (GMA,ERAP,MARCOS)

    1)DILG Secretary Ronald Puno is president of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Partner of the Free Filipino) or Kampi, the party formed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 1998.

    2)DILG chief to former President ERAP.

    3)Puno served as assistant DILG secretary during the MARCOS regime

    Why was/is Ronnie Puno such a sought-after presidential adviser during the GMA/ERAP/MARCOS administratons???

    Your comments pls.

  42. TDC, i remember it was the father, Ricardo Puno who served under Marcos (as Justice Minister). Anyway, i’ve always seen the Puno family as making available their considerable intellect and managerial talent in the service of the current Dark Lord, whoever he/she may be. Maybe they have to fulfill some sort of pact.

  43. now you see it, now you don’t! practically all my most recent comments have been lost. early last night (edt), they appeared only to disappear later. they appeared again this morning only to vanish once more as of this posting. what gives? i know its happening to most of the other posters.
    only manolo’s entries appear to be untouchable. then again, he’s the host, right? (just kidding, mlq3).

    thanks, cvj for saving them in your “parallel universe”. see, i don’t know how to save my comments. often, i have to reconstruct them from memory.

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