Majority of Ilocos Sur folks support guilty verdict on Erap
By Freddie G. Lazaro
VIGAN CITY (September 13) -- Most of the local folks in the province expressed favorable reactions on the "guilty" verdict of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada on his plunder case meted out by the Sandiganbayan last Wednesday.
Former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, the former best friend of Estrada turned whistle blower and prosecution witness, expressed his contentment on the conviction of Erap.
However, Singson said that the judgment is not yet final considering that the "guilty" verdict would probably be appealed by Erap's counsel at the Supreme Court.
"So, if the decision of the plunder case would be appealed to the Supreme Court, we will await few months or even years before the final decision come out," he said in a radio interview.
Vigan City Councilor Everin Molina, who is also a lawyer, said the "guilty" decision for Erap's plunder case was a clear manifestation on country's justice system to have no one above it.
"This showed that even you were the highest officials in the Philippine island, you can not evade the rule of law," Molina said in a radio interview.
But, Molina said that Erap counsels would file their motion for reconsideration at the Supreme Court because this was the usual procedure and a right of a respondent when convicted in the lower court.
Journalist Rudie Taan said that Erap was necessarily be prosecuted and be punished to answer for his misdeeds on plundering millions of funds from government coffers.
"The guilty verdict by the Sandiganbayan for Erap will served as a model or an example for those government officials who continuously doing graft and corruption in their respective agencies," Taan said.
"This would also serve as "crime deterrent or preventive measure" to lessen the graft and corruption practices in the government sector," Taan added.
Farmer Leader Carlos Cachola, President of the Philippine Association of Tobacco Based Cooperative (PATCO) - the country's biggest organization of tobacco farmers, was elated to the "guilty decision" by Sandiganbayan on plunder case against Erap.
"This would only show that the rule of law takes its course," Cachola said.
Businessman Noli Natividad said that Erap should be prosecuted because he was proven guilty as shown by evidence presented in the Sandiganbayan.
"We need to respect the decision of the court," he said.
He said that during the promulgation on Erap case, it did not affect the operation of the business establishments in the province.
He also urged the investigation and prosecution of other ranking government officials who were involved in graft and corruptions activities.
Ask about the possible pardon for Erap, Teresita Bunoan, who was a government employee, was favorable to the said proposal claiming the former president was already old. (PIA – Ilocos Sur) [top]