GMA Defends Erap Clemency

By Carmie Carpio/

MANILA — Pres. Gloria Arroyo defended before a huge crowd of businessmen her granting of executive clemency to former president Joseph Estrada, who was recently convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan last Sept. 12.

The President was keynote speaker at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 33rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel on Friday, Oct. 26.

Halfway through her speech the President said she knew her decision “will be debated, welcomed, criticized and given all sorts of meanings and motives.” , spearheaded by the

“In the end, we had to make a decision that was bound to please and displease, impress and confound, unite and divide,” she added.

President Arroyo cited national unity and advancement, along with the rule of law, justice and accountability, as the factors she considered in making her executive decision. She officially issued executive clemency to her deposed predecessor last Thursday, Oct. 25.

“The issues surrounding former President Estrada’s trial and detention constituted the single most significant cause of political noise and controversy in the national firmament,” she added.

She called this uneasy period as that of constitutional healing, hoping that the Estrada pardon would lead to national stability and advancement.

The President also cited similar circumstances such as former US President Nixon, who was pardoned before conviction, and the former Presidents of Korea who were granted a special pardon by President Kim Dae-jung after being detained for two years.

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