Justices Asked to Act on 'Error' in Erap Ouster

Article excerpt

"Decisions made by the High Court are made by men and women who are not infallible, and judicial errors may be committed now and then, but it takes wisdom, courage, and humility for the justices to admit their mistakes," former President Estrada's spokesman, former Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen said yesterday as he urged the justices to also correct a possible judicial error made in 2001 when they ruled that President Estrada had "constructively resigned."

In a statement released by Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Dilangalen noted the public statement of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban that a judicial error might have been committed in the case of Leo Echegaray, the first man to be executed after many years following the restoration of the death penalty.

Dilangalen said while Echegaray and his family might have been wronged by the judicial error, "it is an even more grievous wrong in case of a judicial error in the case of President Erap because it was a wrong committed against 11 million Filipinos who had elected him their leader until 2004."

"The facts speak for themselves in the case of the ouster of President Estrada," Dilangalen said. "Evidence shown recently before the Sandiganbayan Special Division during the plunder trial clearly shows that President Erap had not resigned and was in fact ousted through a conspiracy."

Last Wednesday, on his eighth time at the witness stand, Estrada and his lawyers presented as evidence a video footage showing President Arroyo telling a group of EDSA II supporters, including members of the Council of Philippine Affairs (COPA), that she had been meeting with five groups of military officers who were plotting Estrada's ouster a year before it actually happened.

Estrada's spokesman said there was also documented evidence that Estrada, who has remained popular despite his five-year incarceration on charges of plunder, had merely taken a temporary leave of absence in January 2001, as shown by his receipted official communications to the two leaders of Congress, which the Estrada defense panel presented before the Sandiganbayan. …