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Roxas urges Arroyo to pardon Estrada

Senator Manuel “Mar" Roxas II on Monday filed a resolution urging President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to pardon former President Joseph Estrada on “humanitarian grounds." In Resolution No. 135, Roxas said Estrada, 70, has been detained for more than six years, during which the ousted leader showed “remarkable humility." Roxas said Estrada “is entitled to live the rest of his life quietly and in peace with members of his family." The Sandiganbayan special division on September 12 found Estrada guilty of plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment of up to 40 years. Roxas filed his resolution even as Estrada’s camp ruled out pardon as an option for the deposed President. Estrada’s spokesman, Representative Rufus Rodriguez, earlier said the deposed President is more interested in amnesty than seeking presidential pardon, which the Estrada considers an admission of guilt. Rodriguez said amnesty was among the issues that Estrada and his legal team tackled in Tanay, Rizal – where the ousted leader continued to be detained after his conviction – over the weekend. Roxas said an act of pardon granted to the former President “should not in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan." The senator said granting pardon to Estrada will reflect the Filipinos’ call for closure of “one of the most divisive chapters of our national life," adding there is a widespread public sentiment in favor of ending “partisan strife, engender dialog among all sides of the political fray and restore national agenda of jobs, livelihood, education and health." He said granting pardon to Estrada was essential to achieving national unity and reconciliation and that Mrs Arroyo herself declared the need to “heal the wounds of EDSA" as part of her overall vision of national unity, stability and progress. -GMANews.TV