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SC wants to hear Erap, Comelec side in disqualification case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it wants to hear what former President and Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada has to say about the disqualification case filed against him last May.

SC Public Information Office Chief and spokesman Theodore Te said the high court, in its first en banc session after a month-long recess, required Estrada and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment on the petition filed by lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal.

"The court has ordered the Comelec and mayor-elect Joseph Estrada to comment on the petition within 10 days from notice," said Te.

Vidal, a known lawyer of outgoing Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, filed the case with the SC after the Comelec dismissed with finality her disqualification complaint against the former president.

In her petition, Vidal stressed that Estrada's conviction for plunder and his being sentenced to life imprisonment had rendered him disqualified to run for public office.

She also said the executive pardon granted to him by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo specifically did not restore his right to run for public office.

The Comelec, last April 1, denied Vidal's petition, saying it was "glaringly similar or intertwined" with the disqualification case filed against Estrada in 2010 when he ran for president.

Vidal moved for the reconsideration of the ruling, but the poll body denied her request on April 23.

Estrada defeated Lim in the May 13 elections and was proclaimed mayor-elect on May 14 after the Comelec lowered the threshold of votes needed to proclaim a winner. The victory marked the return to office of one of the country's most popular politicians.

Estrada was convicted of plunder in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison, but was pardoned by then-President Arroyo months later. He came in second to President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 presidential race. — Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News