It’s the people who will decide — Erap

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THANK you for the unsolicited advice.

Thus reacted former President Joseph Estrada to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel’s statement that he will be shut down by the Supreme Court should he run for president in 2010.

Estrada said that in the end, it is the sovereign will of the people that shall prevail. He said various legal luminaries and justices do not share Pimentel’s opinion.

Estrada, quoting a Supreme Court decision that included Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s opinion, said: “Given the indecisiveness of the votes of the members of this Court, the better policy approach is to let the people decide who will be the next President. For on political questions, this Court may err but the sovereign people will not. To be sure, the Constitution did not grant to the unelected members of this Court the right to elect in behalf of the people” (J. Puno, Tecson v. CA).

Estrada noted that even Pimentel’s son, bar topnotcher Koko Pimentel, believes that Estrada can run for president in the next presidential elections.

In a study that the young Pimentel showed Estrada, he said the constitutional prohibition for reelection of presidents is limited to the incumbent or sitting president.

Pimentel III said Estrada can run for president because he did not finish his term.

“The ‘four years’ mentioned in the Constitution is a very important period of time. In the eyes of the Constitution, a person who has served as president for more than four years has indeed ‘served as president’. Since President Joseph E. Estrada served as president for only 2 and 1/2 years, then he technically has not ‘served as President’,” he said.

Estrada said “Sen.Pimentel should not preempt the decision of the Supreme Court. I would still like to believe in the independence and objectivity of the Justices of the Supreme Court who will be the final arbiter of this question.”