Erap's candidacy in Manila questioned anew

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2013 04:40 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2013 02:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Two lawyers are again asking the Sandiganbayan to clarify the legitimacy of the candidacy of former President Joseph Estrada as mayor of Manila.

Lawyers Fernando Perito and Nephtali Alipos, through their motion for reconsideration filed this morning at the Sandiganbayan, asked the court to set hearings to clarify or put to rest a legal question on the compliance or implied tolerance on a violation of the pardon where Estrada solemnly swore never to seek elective office or post anymore.

The petitioners said a clause has been phrased to restore both civil and political rights to a convicted but pardoned prisoner.  They said the issue must be resolved so such case could be part of jurisprudence.

The Sandiganbayan has expunged from its records last December the motion filed by the petitioners questioning the candidacy of Estrada as Manila mayor in next year's polls.

That same motion filed by lawyers Perito and Aliposa did not specify a date for a hearing on the motion before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.

As per rules of court, failing to set a hearing schedule will render the motion just 'a mere scrap of paper' prompting Fifth division justices to order the motion removed from the records.

The petitioners argued that the non-setting of the date was due to an advice from a former member on the judiciary, which the petitioner did not name, that the special court specifically created to hear the case has been dissolved.

Estrada filed his certificate of candidacy before the Commission on Elections last October, making official his intention to run against incumbent Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

In the 2010 elections, Estrada ran for President and came in second to then Senator Benigno Aquino III.