[This blog has a new domain: http://philippineaffairs.com/]
The trial was a circus but the verdict was just. The verdict was a triumph of justice and was based on evidence. However, the recent pardon given to the former president was politically-motivated. It was not really a surprise. hardly anybody was surprised. It was anticipated. Perhaps, the only one that was surprised was Erap himself who probably thought that clemency was the name of a Chinese druglord who would be his cellmate.
It was supposedly an act of reconciliation but to the expense of the people. However, Erap is too old anyway to languish in jail, although jail could be a good place where he could spend his remaining years and be nostalgic of the good old days. I do not personally agree with the pardon given to Erap. It was a bad precedence. However, Erap’s case was a special case. Afterall, Erap already served six years in detention; actually it was more of a vaction than a prison term. Hopefully, the pardon would only restore his civil rights. All his loots must be forfeited in favor of the government; the same government that he helped to bankrupt. A comparable case to this would be Richard Nixon’s case. Although Nixon was also pardoned, the American people never forgotten his crimes. The name of Nixon is now synonymous with crookedness in governance.
On the other hand, I would not expect the same reaction from the majority of Filipinos. We, Filipinos, are notorious for our very short political memory. We tend to forgive and forget. It is perfectly okay to forgive but we must never forget; otherwise, we would be committing the same mistakes over and over again. I would not be surprised if Erap’s political machinery would be rejuvenated to dominate Philippine elections come 2010. Well, not unless the present administration manage to pull-up another Macoy maneuver.
Happy days are here again for Erap and his supporters. I thought Erap was just a mascot, a puppet. However, look who is now pulling the strings.