September 17, 2007
ROXAS: PARDON ERAP AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME
In order to finally and sincerely put a just closure to national divisiveness, Senator Mar Roxas filed Senate Resolution No. 135 calling on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue a pardon to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada at the appropriate time.
"Our people have been divided due to the politics of the last 20 years. But while our people are fragmented, they share one thing: they remain poor, and it is because our politics has failed to pay attention to them." he said.
"I urge the President to initiate the difficult process of uniting our people and finally focusing on the real problems that our people experience. Pardoning Erap at the appropriate time would be a step towards unity," he stressed.
"The grant of pardon to Erap on humanitarian grounds should not in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, but serves solely as an embodiment of the people's will for closure on one of the most divisive chapters of our national life," he added.
Roxas said the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (2004-2010) itself recognizes the need to heal the wounds caused by three EDSA uprisings and focus on the real reasons behind these revolts: social inequality, deprivation, poverty and social exclusion. Pardon, he said, would be an imperative to achieving national unity and reconciliation with justice.
"There is a felt, widespread and compelling sentiment among our people to end partisan strife, engender dialogue among all sides of the political fray, and restore the national agenda of jobs, livelihood, education and health," Roxas said.
"Erap's pardon is an imperative to true unity, pardon and dialogue. The people themselves have said this," he stressed, citing national surveys saying that a great majority of the people favors Estrada's pardon.
Roxas said it would be ironic to deprive Estrada of pardon—even if he has announced his intention to refuse offers for the same—and the public with this much-needed national dialogue, especially as amnesty have been in the offing for communist rebels and as peace talks in Mindanao have been rolling. Estrada, he added, has already been sentenced by a credible court and has done his time in detention prior to this sentence.
"Erap is 70 years old, has spent six years under detention, has shown remarkable humility and is entitled to live the rest of his life quietly and in peace with members of his family, especially Doña Mary," he said.
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