Erap unfazed by possible reversal of Comelec ruling

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — CAGAYAN de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) are not bothered by the possibility that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) might reverse its January 20 ruling that Estrada could run for president in the May elections.

“I don’t think he (Estrada) is bothered; I am not bothered,” Rodriguez told reporters yesterday after attending the joint congressional oversight committee on automated elections at the Senate.

Comelec Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento, who is also present during the hearing, confirmed that the poll body had received a motion for reconsideration filed by lawyer Evillo Pormento.

“Yes, the motion for reconsideration is already with us and we are going to meet en banc and decide accordingly,” Sarmiento said. He, however, failed to state the date of the possible en banc session to tackle the issue.

In the January 20 ruling of Comelec’s Second Division chaired by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, the poll body dismissed the petitions of lawyers Pormento, Mary Lou Estrada and Elly Pamatong “for utter lack of merit.”

“It is the electorate’s choice of who their president should be. The better policy approach is to let the people decide who will be the next president,” the decision stated.

Immediately after the decision was handed down, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo was among the top poll officials who congratulated Estrada for his victory.

Rodriguez, former dean of the College of Law of San Sebastian and one of those consulted by Estrada prior to filing his certificate of candidacy last November, said he sees no point for the Comelec to reverse itself on the issue.

“Wala na, I don’t see the Comelec reversing itself on this issue,” Rodriguez said.