Sep 12, 2007

[Philippines] The Estrada Verdict

Flickr: M.a.c.a.r.o.n.i. - people power

In theory, it's finally over - former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada has been found guilty of plunder. It took a political uprising and 6 years of court proceedings before we could reach this point, but who's to say really if this is a true "victory" for anyone.

Will this really change anything? That remains to be seen, I think. Already the political maneuvering can be seen as clear as day as people adjust to this new reality and it possibly means. The conviction is a symbol for many things, an avenue to advancing personal agendas as needed with not real concern for what all of this was supposed to mean.

But at least this chapter of things is over and now we can move on to darker things.

The conviction comes as no surprise. While I never questioned the fact that Erap was guilty - this is something I've always believed as an individual. However I wasn't entirely sure if there was truly sufficient evidence to prove his guilt in a court of law. It's hard to say if there really was enough - the conviction seems too convenient in many ways. He's guilty of plunder but not of perjury and his colleagues who were also facing trial were not found guilty along with him. What is that supposed to mean?

One might think that this proves the evidence was insufficient to truly convict them given how soon they rushed to trial and the conviction was a compromise of sorts, using Erap as a scapegoat to be paraded in front of the masses to prove that in the end, the current Administration was correct in its actions. You might assume they had to let the others go since the cases against them were even weaker than that against Erap. Who knows, really?

This isn't really a matter for trying to find justice, I think. This is more of an exercise in more politicking, with GMA proving she is "worthy" of her position and thus providing others the appropriate avenue to express themselves in turn and identify where they stand. Groups like the Black and White movement and annoyingly enough the CBCP as well have all come forward with their official statements. I'm sorry, I'll never come to appreciate the involvement of the Catholic Church in such political events as seen in their perceived need to issue statements on every major news event.

Whatever it is, it's over for now and we're all just going to have to weather the storms of the aftermath. There will be the mandatory rallies left and right, some spawned entirely out of support for the former president with others supported by political will and the large coffers that go with it. There'll be more political statements, endless debates and interesting motions to be raised in Congress and the Senate.

At the end of the day we persevere and life moves on, with the wheels of government continuing to turn and spin their wheels within wheels within wheels of plans...

Photo linked from M.a.c.a.r.o.n.i.'s photostream

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