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Jinggoy vows to block Sandigan justices' appointment to SC

November 5, 2007 5:49pm

Senator Jose “Jinggoy" Estrada on Monday vowed to block the appointment to the Supreme Court of the Sandiganbayan Justices that convicted his father - former President Joseph Estrada - of plunder.

In a privilege speech, the younger Estrada said he will oppose the possible appointment of Sandiganbayan Justices to the High Court, saying such a promotion would seem like a reward in exchange for the guilty verdict against the deposed President.

The senator said he remains convinced that the special court created by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was established to convict the former President.

“We are convinced, then and now, that the special court created to exclusively try the case of President Estrada was established precisely to convict him, which is what exactly happened," Estrada said.

“If it be true that these justices will be rewarded with a position in the Supreme Court, I will oppose this, hopefully, with other righteous citizens who believe that justice must not be subject to bargaining, to wheeling and dealing, or, to horse-trading. This runs smack of reward for securing a guilty verdict," he added.

On October 16, the Judicial Bar Council confirmed that Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Teresita De Castro, and Sandiganbayan Justices Edilberto Sandoval and Francisco Villaruz Jr were among those shortlisted to fill up the lone vacancy in the Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Cancio Garcia last October 19.

Other candidates for the posts are: CA Justices Martin Villarama Jr and Edgardo Cruz; and Labor Secretary Arturo D. Brion, who himself is a former CA Justice.

In his speech, Estrada also said his whole family is very thankful for the “closure" of the case against his father as he expressed gratitude to all who helped in securing freedom for the latter.

“It is of no moment now whether there are those who opposed or supported the grant of pardon. What is important now is that there is closure of this case. Equally important is that he is now free, reunited with his loved ones, especially with his ailing mother, my grandmother, and, prepared to resume the pro–poor programs he left behind," Estrada said.

Estrada also reiterated earlier statements that the Estrada camp did not enter into a special deal with the Arroyo administration in granting executive clemency to President Estrada.

He said that it is unfortunate that the “rumor and gossip mills" are working overtime to cast aspersions and other unfounded innuendos on the acceptance of executive clemency by President Estrada.

“No deals or compromises were made with the grant and acceptance of the pardon of President Estrada," Estrada said.

Estrada also criticized former President Fidel Ramos who has opposed the pardon grant to Estrada.

Instead of opposing the pardon grant, Ramos should first explain alleged anomalies committed under the administration such as the contracts with independent power producers, the sale of profitable government corporations, and other government assets and properties.

“These are the real deals that they bury in the mud while pontificating against the charges against President Estrada," the senator said. - GMANews.TV
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