Two presidential aspirants on Thursday welcomed the decision of the Commission on Election (Comelec) second division allowing the candidacy of former President Joseph Estrada, saying it would give the electorate more options.
"It's the choice of the people to decide, and it gives the electorate more options, more candidates to choose from," said lawyer Edwin Lacierda, spokesman of Liberal Party standard-bearer Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Lacierda said the LP does not intend to file any petition questioning the Comelec second division’s decision, which said the disqualification cases against Estrada lacked merit.
Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada III, the LP spokesperson, said Aquino "respects the decision of the Comelec and whatever decision the Supreme Court may come out with if ever it is brought to the SC on appeal."
Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr. likewise said he would "let the electorate decide on the matter." "Filipinos deserve to have a larger pool of leaders in which to seek their next president," he said in a statement.
Conrado Limcaoco, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary, said the Comelec's decision on Estrada's candidacy would not have a heavy bearing on Teodoro since the Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer would be campaigning "on his own merits."
Limcaoco said Malacañang respects the Comelec resolution on Estrada, as well as the poll body's decision to dismiss the petition seeking to disqualify President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from running for congresswoman of Pampanga's second district.
“I think that the Comelec as an independent body is made up of extremely capable people and we respect and support their decision on that," Limcaoco said.
Estrada, elected president in 1998, was ousted after two years following charges of corruption. He was tried and later found guilty of plunder by the Sandiganbayan, and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. His successor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pardoned him in October 2007, or a month after his conviction.
Those who filed the petition with the Comelec said Estrada’s presidential bid violates the Constitution, which they said clearly prohibits a president from seeking re-election. - Johanna Camille Sisante/KBK, GMANews.TV