Erap thanks SC: ‘Voice of people is voice of God’
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – He stays in office.
There wasn’t a fiesta in sight in the city of Manila, but city hall employees were ecstatic and jubilant on Wednesday, January 21, after the Supreme Court dismissed the disqualification case against Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada.
“Erap pa rin (We still support Erap)!,” chanted employees from the city mayor’s office.
Some were dressed in either orange or blue – the campaign colors of Estrada and incumbent Vice Mayor Isko Moreno during the 2013 polls. Others put on temporary tattoos of Estrada’s caricature while even more waved around orange tube balloons.
A few minutes past 1:30 pm, Estrada emerged from his office inside the city hall, to the loud cheers of employees who were waiting for him. A band just outside the mayor's office added to the festive mood.
An equally jubilant Estrada thanked the city’s employees and the SC’s justices for listening to the “voice of the people.”
“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” he said, eliciting even more cheers from the employees gathered at the Manila City Hall Bulwagan.
Earlier, Estrada himself tweeted to thank the High Court for its decision.
Maraming salamat po sa Supreme Court. RT@TedTe Estrada DQ case dismissed (11-3), details later at press briefing at 130.— Joseph Estrada (@PresidentErap) January 21, 2015
In a statement, Moreno said he and the city council were happy with the SC’s decision, which came almost 2 years after Erap and Moreno snagged their current positions.
“Ito ay bindikasyon kay Pangulong-Mayor Erap na inihalal sa isang malinis at parehas na halalalan,” said Moreno. (This is a vindication of President-Mayor Erap, who won in a clean and fair election.)
Estrada said he hoped the High Court’s decision would put an end to dirty politics that try to get in the way of their work at city hall.
Asked for his message to former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Estrada’s erstwhile ally turned political foe, the former movie star chose a tongue-in-cheek answer. “May God bless him and more power for his retirement,” he said.
Watch his statement below.
Not too long ago, Estrada, Lim and their respective supporters traded barbs – both verbal and physical – during the months-long 2013 campaign.
The disqualification case was filed by lawyer Alicia Vidal, who was identified with Lim, the incumbent that Estrada challenged and defeated in 2013.
The petitioner argued that when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo pardoned Estrada from his plunder conviction, one of the conditions was for him not to seek public office anymore. Estrada, on the other hand, had insisted the pardon he received was absolute and restored all his political rights.
In the 2013 mayoral race, Estrada got 343,993 votes against Lim's 308,544 votes.
Statements from senator sons
Estrada's son, Senator JV Ejercito echoed Moreno about the respect given to the voice of the electorate.
"I am happy that the SC gave importance to the voice of the people. They respected the mandate that was given [to him] as duly elected mayor of Manila," he said.
Estrada's older son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, said in a statement that the dismissal of the disqualification case against the Manila mayor "is a triumph of the will of the Filipino masses, especially the electorate of the City of Manila to choose their rightful leader."
He continued: "We know that this petition filed against my father by a losing opponent was merely a ploy to derail his plans of transforming Manila into a dynamic and progressive metropolis, which my father is now doing."
The senator expressed hope that the decision "puts to final rest all questions and uncertainties over the pardon given to my father President Mayor Joseph Estrada and his eligibility to run for public office."
He called on the public to help the Estrada administation in Manila "in restoring the glory and grandeur of our beloved capital city which were lost due to years of mismanagement and negligence."
The Supreme Court on Wednesday also decided on Senator Estrada's separate case, which sought to order the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to dismiss the plunder case against him over the pork barrel scam. The court dismissed the senator's petition. – Rappler.com