Sandiganbayan not pressured by Erap verdict
By Behn Fer Hortaleza
DAGUPAN CITY (13 September) -- A former president of the Pangasinan chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines here said he believes the Sandiganbayan justices were not pressured by any political forces in rendering a guilty verdict on former president Joseph Estrada.
Lawyer Baltazar Servito said here yesterday, the case on four counts against Estrada was decided on pure merits and that the three graft court justices can easily justify their decision before any higher judicial body like the Supreme Court.
Servito also said there should be no talk at all as of now about any presidential pardon for Estrada as the case is not yet final and the former President can still file for a motion of reconsideration with the Sandiganbayan that convicte4d him or even file for a new trial.
He said for as long as final verdict is not rendered by the highest court of the land – the Supreme Court and the process for appeal have not yet been exhausted, the President may not grant a pardon.
Servito also noted that it is not only awkward but judicially improper for an Executive to offer a pardon that is eventually rejected by the supposed convicted person. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]