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Erap claims Dirty Harry behind disqualification case

January 29, 2013 6:25am

(Updated 12:15 p.m.) A disqualification case was filed against former President Joseph Estrada for his mayorial bid in Manila, but the former Chief Executive accused Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim of being behind the suit.

During Monday’s hearing at the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec), Estrada pointed out that the lawyer of Alicia Vidal, the petitioner in the case, is Lim's lawyer.

“Of course. One of [Vidal's] lawyers is [retired Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Rodolfo] Palattao. Everybody knows he’s the lawyer of Lim,” Estrada said.

But Vidal’s camp denied the accusations.

“He [Lim] has nothing to do with this. I am filing this as a registered voter of Manila,” Vidal said.

“Kawawa ako as a registered voter of Manila. I want to be sure that my vote will be counted. Baka mamaya madisqualify siya. E di sayang ‘yung boto,” Vidal said in a report by GMA News' Tina Panganiban-Perez.

Still, Estrada characterized the case as pure harassment. The former President is running against the reelectionist Manila mayor in the 2013 elections.

“It’s all purely harassment. I don’t know what Dirty Harry means. It might mean dirty tricks… He’s a good friend, and let’s have a fair fight. No dirty tricks,” Estrada said in Panganiban-Perez’s report.

 
Vidal filed the disqualification case against Estrada citing the condition of the pardon granted him by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the Sandiganbayan convicted him of plunder in 2007.

“The grant of pardon is conditional. And one of the conditions is that he will not seek public office,” said Vidal's counsel, Palattao.

But according to Estrada and his lawyer, Frank Chavez, the determining factor of his qualification to run lies in the dispositive portion of the document.

“It [the conditions] appears on the ‘whereas clause’ but it is not part of the pardon. It imposes no obligation on him. So the very same pardon document restored his civil and political rights,” Chavez explained.

Estrada's counsel added that the Comelec itself had settled the issue when the ex-President was allowed to run in 2010.

The Comelec junked the petitions against Estrada’s re-election bid in 2010 for lack of merit.
 
For their part, Lim’s chief of staff Ricardo De Guzman said they had no part in the disqualification case against Estrada.
 
“Wala kaming alam tungkol sa pagsampa ng kung anumang kaso ‘dun sa Comelec. Wala kaming pag-uutos. Sarili niyang opinyon ‘yan,” De Guzman said. — with Marc Cayabyab/DVM/RSJ, GMA News
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