Commentary: Pardon, amnesty or court appeal
Tacloban City (September 19) -- Former President Joseph Estrada who was recently convicted of plunder is eligible to be granted pardon as he is already seventy years old.
The Government has voiced out its willingness to grant Estrada absolute pardon, to exempt him from punishment. Pardon, the dictionary says, to officially release from any, or any further, punishment somebody who has committed a crime or wrongdoing.
On the other hand, many people are advising him not to seek reconsideration and allow the court's decision to become final and executory because if President Estrada follows the advice of his lawyers and elevate the case to the Supreme Court, this would only prolong the process as it could take five to ten years.
Likewise, many people are also telling him to drop the amnesty idea because amnesty is for political offenders only and not for plunderers. The dictionary defines amnesty as a general pardon, especially for those who have committed political crimes.
The former President was convicted by the anti-graft court's Special Division for plunder on two counts and sentenced up to 40 years in prison.
Former President Estrada must make a formal and official request for pardon, then he will negotiate with the President. Then and only then the President will start the process for him to avail himself of a pardon.
Pardon, amnesty, court appeal - whichever he will take, the decision is in the hands of former President Estrada. President Arroyo is only waiting for him to show interest in a pardon.
This reminds one of the prayer of St. Francis Assissi, a portion of which states: "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon…for it is in pardoning that we are pardoned." (PIA 8) [top]