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I use to dismiss the critics of GMA thinking that she is doing her best to run our
country and that the criticisms are part of a developing democracy. However, with
current developments and topped with her grant of absolute pardon for Erap, I think
otherwise. My first reaction was disappointment at our resident when she granted
absolute pardon to Erap. !y giving Erap that absolute pardon, our president restored all
his civil and political rights, which were remove automatically by his conviction of
atrocious crimes involving illegally amassing billions of pesos by virtue of his public
In my mind, the grant of absolute pardon to Erap is too early. It is ill timed. "he
significance of the verdict has not even felt by the #ilipinos in yet after almost seven
years of trial. I consider the reasons provided by the resident for granting the pardon
unreasonable, specifically, that former president $oseph Estrada has already been
detained for si% years and a half and is aging, and thus can benefit from government
policy of releasing convicts aged &' or over. I regard such reason as unbearable because
the detention of Erap was not e%actly the kind suffered by those accused of most heinous
crimes. In fact, he has stayed in a house, not in (ail, and en(oyed the amenities of a home.
In reality, aged convicts still spend some time in the penitentiary before being freed. I
believe every convict needs a prison stay and has to e%perience the reality of punishment
to make him appreciate the conse)uence of his criminal act. *ld age does not (ustify
immediate release, especially, if the crime committed was a heinous one.
Moreover, I do not believe that the grant by the resident of pardon to Erap was
for national reconciliation and humanitarian purposes. I think her real reason behind this
is to protect her own political interest and to minimi+e political opposition to her
administration. I think the resident used this hasty pardon to distract the public,s
attention from the latest corruption and bribery scandals her administration is suffering as
well as to prevent the maturity of the impeachment efforts against her. In view of this, I
perceive her administration as morally bankrupt. -he only acts for her own selfish end
and that is to continue to hold on to power at all costs.
In addition, I do not agree with the grant of pardon to Erap because I believe that
Erap does not deserve it considering his attitude. "he very essence of pardon is
forgiveness and therefore should be given only to those who solemnly repent. However,
in the case of Erap, he is still arrogant and totally remorseless. In fact, after his guilty
verdict, he publicly claimed that he would rather go to (ail than to receive a presidential
pardon. However, after several days following his pronouncement, he changed his mind
and is already considering the pardon under the guise of his mother,s illness. .o
instances wherein Erap showed at least a little remorse for what he has done. In fact, Erap
continues to assert his innocence even after the evidence showed otherwise and
stubbornly insists that bad people in politics persecuted him.
Although it is undisputable that pardon is a presidential prerogative, the president
must still e%ercise such prerogative with utmost prudence giving only such privilege to
deserving ones. "his is so because the president, (ust like all other elected government
official, is a representative of the sovereign people. In the present case, I believe Erap
falls short of )ualification to merit pardon whether partial or absolute.
"he grant of pardon to Erap is a reflection of inconsistency in the administration
of (ustice. -uch grant implies a /double standard0 in the treatment of convicts 1 one for
the mighty and politically powerful and another for the poor. #urthermore, (ustice was
not served at all.
2astly, it affirms our government3s reputation of being graft1ridden. It negates the
declaration of our country in the international community that it is serious in its
anticorruption campaign. "he conviction of Erap, which supposed to show that our
country is genuinely fighting against corruption, instead impliedly admits that our
country is too weak to punish the big predators of public funds.