MANILA — Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada can no longer run for president according to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
He said that the Constitution will no longer allow Estrada to run, adding that the former President also has given up the presidential race.
Macalintal made the statement following reports that Estrada will still be able to run for President in the coming presidential election.
Previous reports indicated that Estrada could still run for president because of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his election as mayor in 2013.
This is despite the fact that Estrada was convicted with plunder in 2007, disqualifying him from holding public post.
Macalintal also cited arguments from Estrada’s supporters claiming that Estrada could still be allowed to run since he “did not finish his term of six years as President or his service was interrupted when he was forced to leave Malacañang in 2001.”
He however disagrees with these reports citing the prohibition under Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution which bars “any re-election’ of an elected President.”
Macalintal also cited Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (ConCom), saying that “re-election means either election immediately after a term or election even after some interruption.”
He added that Estrada did not finish his term as President because of his “voluntary resignation’ from the said office.”
“That his resignation was voluntary was clearly ruled upon by the SC when Estrada himself filed a petition before the high court to clarify the status of his having left Malacañang in January 2001,” he said.
“In the case of Estrada versus Desierto, the SC held on March 2, 2001, that ‘Estrada resigned as President and he cannot feign ignorance of this fact when he told his then Executive Secretary Ed Angara: ‘Ayoko na, masyado nang masakit.’ The SC held that ‘Ayoko na’ are words of resignation, which are high grade evidence that Estrada has resigned,” he added.
“Thus, Estrada’s ‘voluntary resignation’ from the presidency in 2001 cannot be a valid ground to justify another bid for the same position in 2016,” he stressed.
“Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution clearly provides that ‘voluntary renunciation of the office cannot be considered an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected,’” he added.