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Commentary: The verdict

Tacloban City (September 12) -- The much-awaited verdict of the Sandigan Bayan on the plunder case of former President Estrada was read at midmorning today, ending the six-long years of trial and speculations on what the decision or judgment will be.

Whether the verdict is acceptable or not to any parties or group of people is water under the bridge. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the greatest American poet once wrote, "they who make up the final verdict upon every book are not the partial and noisy readers of the hour when it appears; but a court of angels, a public not to be bribed, not to be entreated, and not to be overawed, decides upon every man's title to fame."

Former President Joseph Estrada was convicted today on the clearest evidence, as guilty for the case of plunder and not guilty for the case of perjury.

Accordingly, the former Chief Executive is penalized with reclusion perpetua and will continue to be detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

The Palace in a statement announced that it bows to the decision of the Sandigan Bayan.

This is indeed a sad episode in the history of the country, Malacanan said. The Palace also hopes and pray, and it exhorted the public to do the same, that the rule of law will prevail.

A verdict is the decision, judgment or opinion pronounced by the court concerning any matter of fact in any cause, civil or criminal, committed to their examination and determination.

The finding or decision of the court on the matter legally submitted to them in the course of the trial of a cause, is limited only to whether the person on trial is guilty or not guilty. The court cannot bring in a verdict that the defendant is a little bit guilty. And not even the President can change that decision or verdict.

In the meantime, there is a country to run, an economy to grow and a peace to win.

It is hoped that this sad episode in the history of the Philippines will not permanently distract the government and the Filipino people from these goals. (PIA 8) [top]

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