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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Legal and political

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (12 September) -- Defense lawyers of former President Estrada pounced on the political aspect as their main adverse reaction immediately after the guilty verdict on Erap's plunders case was handed down by the anti-graft Court, the Sandiganbayan, today September 12, 2007.

They are not surprised by the conviction, they said.

As to the legal aspect, they would file a motion for reconsideration in the Sandiganbayan on or before the regulatory deadline of September 27.


Thus, the legal process, in the long and short of it, may still take some time yet until the case shall have rested with finality in the Supreme Court, if ever it can reach that point, eventually.

In all irony, however, the Defense also a faulted the High Court, the final arbiter, as having dipped its hands into the political side of the historic plunder case even before day one.

Yet if we have to look back much earlier, at the aborted impeachment trial, Senators-Judges allied with the camp of the former President then can also be blamed on the bungling of the political angle, given that impeachment proceeding is purely a political exercise.


In the days and months ahead, the Sandiganbayan's decision will be weighed for all its merits and demerits. But the fact remains that the judicial process in our country was functioning well simply by bringing to its logical conclusion the celebrated case.

On whether the convicted accused has had the kind of justice due him or not, this may also continue to be an object of subjected interpretation for some time.

In the midst of all that, two principles remained intact: the principle on the rule of law and the principle on accountability of public officers. These two have prevailed over the past seven years.


One independent observer familiar with the workings of the legal processes commented live on ANC-TV that he saw no fraud on the decision of the Sandiganbayan, which evaluated everything based mainly on the evidence presented, both from the prosecution and defense, in the course of the trial.

On the political implication of the verdict, this observer said that the political life of the country is not the political life of Estrada alone.

That, in a nutshell, is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


LOCAL FRONT: It's business as usual in Maasin City as the judgment day for Estrada unfolded on nationwide TV and radio. While private and public offices with cable TV connections were glued by the blow-by-blow account on the live monitoring of the event, students, schools, drivers, traders, and those transacting business in this or that office went about their daily routine, though fully aware of the history-in-the-making-news. Cong. Roger Mercado was right when he said that it is just another day for the case, the promulgation day, so he does not expect any unusual activity.

ODDLY YOURS: One of the problems facing astronauts in deep space is sleep. NASA researchers in 2002 cannot seem to find the cause why this happens. In rare cases, when a brief sleep, or a nap, was enjoyed, no astronaut ever snored even if he or she is a habitual snorer. On Earth, snoring in sleep will occur when gravity pulls the tongue and the soft tissues at the back of the mouth, closing the air passage at the throat. The resulting vibration produces sound which is heard as snore, explained Kim Priok, Medical Professor at the University of California in San Diego. There is no gravity in space, so absolutely no snoring out there. (PIA Southern Leyte) [top]

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