MANILA - Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada urged the Supreme Court (SC) to junk a petition that seeks to disqualify him in the May 2013 Manila mayoralty elections and unseat him from his current post.
In his memorandum filed with the SC, Estrada pointed out that the presidential pardon on his plunder convicted granted him on Oct 25, 2007 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo restored all his civil and political rights, and did not bar him from vying for Manila's mayoralty post.
The petition with the SC that seeks his ouster was filed by a certain Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal.
"[Estrada] was granted an absolute pardon and thereby restored to his full civil and political rights, including the right to seek elective office... By its language, the pardon granted to Estrada is not conditional and is effective upon its acceptance by [Estrada], which he did on the same day,” the petition read.
"Hence, it explicitly restores Estrada's 'civil and political rights' which include the right to vote and to be elected to public office," the memorandum read.
Estrada also stressed that should the petition against him be granted, it would lead to a "massive disenfranchisement of votes" of those who supported him in the mayoralty race, which "should not and cannot be advocated" by the high court.
He stressed that "vox populi est supreme lex," meaning, "the voice of the people is the supreme law."
"Surely this honorable Supreme Court En Banc would not simply put to waste the [349,770] votes received by [Estrada] in the aftermath of the recently concluded May 13, 2013 automated national and local elections,” the petition read.
"[I]t is clear that the sovereign will of the voting electorate of the City of Manila, which they expressed through their ballots by voting for Estrada as their local chief executive during the last elections, should thus be respected and given the fullest effect by this honorable Supreme Court," the memorandum read.
Estrada also stressed that his erstwhile rival, former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who placed second in the race, and who also happens to be an intervenor in the case before the SC, cannot take his place even if the high court should decide in favor of the petition.
Estrada also reiterated his plea for oral arguments so that he may better thresh out his position.