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SC gives Erap more time to respond to disqualification case — court sources


Former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will have more time to prepare his comment on the disqualification petition filed against him, according to court sources.
 
This was after the Supreme Court sitting en banc or in full court granted a motion filed last week by Estrada's lawyer George Erwin Garcia.

As of posting time, SC Public Information Office chief Theodore Te could not immediately confirm the en banc's resolution on Estrada's request.
 
In his motion, Garcia told the high court he was handling too many cases and would like to seek a 30-day extension or until August 6 to file a comment on the petition filed by lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal. 
 
"The indulgence of this Honorable Court is sought on the matter considering that numerous pleadings that require immediate preparations and submissions as well as appearances in the many active cases of equal importance are being handled by undersigned counsel," read the motion.

Lim's lawyer
 
The high court earlier required Estrada and the Commission on Elections to comment on Vidal's petition within 10 days from receipt of the notice.
 
Vidal, a known lawyer of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, filed the case with the SC after the Comelec dismissed with finality her disqualification complaint against the former Philippine leader.
 
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 Estrada 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.
 
Lim himself had earlier filed a petition for intervention, which would allow the former mayor to formally participate in the pending disqualification case against Estrada.
 
The high court granted Lim's request and consolidated it with the earlier petition filed by Vidal. The high court had likewise asked Estrada to file a separate comment on Lim's motion for intervention.
 
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 September 2007 and sentenced to life in prison, but was pardoned by then-President Arroyo a month later. He placed second to President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 presidential race. — Mark Merueñas/RSJ, GMA News
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