Erap Case Ruling: Guilty or Not?

Outsiders who listen to Filipino politicians talk on the impending resolution of the plunder case against former president Joseph Estrada will surely be amused.

Ex-president Joseph EstradaThe year 2001 when People Power 2 booted Estrada out of office is but some six years ago, and yet it seems like the Erap of 2001 is a total stranger to the Erap of 2007.

The old Estrada, as painted by then senator Teofisto Guingona, was evil personified; Guingona now talks about Estrada like he is a saint.

In 2001, people were so incensed by the alleged excesses of the Estrada government that they condemned, at times harshly, everybody associated with it.

Remember the catcalls and the jeers then Erap allies Robert Jaworski and Gregorio Honasan received when they attempted to join the Edsa crowd?

Now Guingona is demanding that Erap be freed and some members of the group Plunderwatch no longer cares whether the former president is convicted or is acquitted.

Now the image of Estrada, like the other president toppled by People Power, the late Ferdinand Marcos, is being rubbed clean by his politician allies and loyalists.

Express your belief now that Erap may be found guilty and all the pro-Eraps, from politicians down to fanatics will gang up on you—a reversal of roles.

This is the problem with our politics: law and justice often take a back seat in the midst of the wheeling and dealing of politicians and their supporters.

Past events are interpreted and re-interpreted to fit political goals.

In the end, though, there are the courts and our justice system.

If there’s any consolation, the former president is tried not in the courts of public opinion but in the courts of law, where ideally evidence is the main consideration.

Spin doctors can manipulate people’s perception using all the tricks in the game but not the mind of a court trained to appraise presented proof.

That, of course, is the ideal setup because courts can also be pressured or worse manipulated by politicians, whether they are in the administration or the opposition.

The Sandiganbayan, then, should be up to the task in resolving Estrada’s plunder case, or calls for the people to respect its decision will all be for naught.

–Candido O. Wenceslao (I wrote this for the July 7, 2007 editorial of Sun.Star Cebu) 

5 Responses to Erap Case Ruling: Guilty or Not?

  1. I was surprised to see the old Guingona on TV calling to free Estrada? Surprised or amused? I was one of those anonymous persons who voluntarily went to Fuente to join the call to oust Estrada. I didnt forget it. Now I will still go there if necessary not to call for Estrada’s freedom but to persecute him. Im not as old as Guingona to forget. What happen to our memory?

    Let justice prevail!

  2. For the question, Erap Case Ruling: Guilty or Not?, I believe Estrada is guilty. But im not a lawyer, now present when during case hearings. I am not in the position to say Estrada is guilty but i feel more shame if i say words that paint Estrada as if he were saint, no sins, innocent. He is not!

  3. ES-TUDENT says:

    NOT GUILTY!!! I believe that Erap is not guilty,..
    ksi si erap ang rami-rami na ditong natulungan sa western visayas. Lalo na sa kanyang pabahay project.. MABUTi siyang tao kaso ngalang mababa ang pinag-aralan kaya hindi niya na pansin na mga anay pala ang nasa likod niya nung presidente palamang siya.
    Ang totoong guilty dyan ay ang mga tuta sa SENADO na wala nang gnawa kundi mangorakot!! Esp. Speaker De venecia I hate him.
    duh? IT IS A FREE COUNTRY SO IM VERY FREE TO POST MY OWN HEARTACHES AND OPINION
    PRES. ERAP KAYA MO YAN!! RAarhhrh..

  4. kherheim says:

    NOT GUILTY…..ofcorz….
    kasi maramng na2lunga c erap kesa kay arroyo….
    din sya ung nakapagpapigil ng gulo sa mindanao..
    dapat PALAYAIN na c ERAP!!!!!!!!!!

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