The Black and White Movement adds its voice to mounting opposition against Malacanang’s intention to grant former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada unconditional pardon.
Why the gratuitous haste?
We believe this is a political ploy intended to shift the focus of public debate away from the ZTE scandal and palace payoffs towards this potentially divisive issue. It comes at a time when GMA herself is embroiled in accusations of corruption. It reveals this administration’s nonchalant and tolerant attitude towards graft and corruption. It is no wonder that bribery on a grand scale can be allegedly committed with brazen impunity in Malacanan Palace, the proverbial hearth of government.
The bishops were right â€“ we have a morally bankrupt leadership.
Furthermore, we are particularly incensed about the idea of granting Erap an unconditional pardon because this concession will restore his full civil and political rights, allow him to retain the properties and monies he claims are not even his, without public admission of guilt. An unconditional pardon effectively sets aside the Sandiganbayan’s conviction of the former president. The hard work put into six years of litigation by both parties was all for naught.
This irreverent compromise sends the wrong message to our people, “It’s all right to plunder, as long as you can cut a deal with those in power.”
At a time when we can finally celebrate an achievement that proves our justice system works, that our judiciary can exact accountability from the highest official of the land, this single act will irreparably retard the people’s trust in our system.
We are not against pardon per se, especially if it is granted for humanitarian reasons. What we oppose is the timing and the motives behind it. Given the circumstances attending this planned unconditional pardon, the Black and White Movement says, “Hindi pa tamang panahon.”