CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (RAUL G. MOLDEZ / Jan 6) - THE city council here passed a resolution urging the government to grant temporary liberty to detained former president Joseph Estrada pending the final resolution of the plunder charges against him.
The city council had joined other civil society groups also called on the government to allow him to post bail while awaiting the verdict of the Sandiganbayan on said plunder charges that remained unproven after almost six years of trial.
The resolution, authored by Councilor Maryanne Enteria, said Estrada's temporary liberty should be ordered for the sake of national unity and reconciliation.
During its regular session on Dec. 27, 2006 presided by acting Vice Mayor Juan Sia, the City Council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 8333-2006, expressing its support for the release of Estrada.
The resolution also cited Estrada's "unswerving adherence to the rule of law" during his five years' stay in prison. It said the ex-president "has shown no indication of fleeing the country to escape justice.”
Sia said the release of Estrada from prison may unify the nation and end the raging climate of hate engulfing the country.
“The national leadership has been time and again espousing national reconciliation among various political units and former President Estrada’s freedom may be the medicine to heal the wounds of the nation,”read one of the whereases of the resolution.
Sia said copies of the resolution will be furnished to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez and Sandiganbayan executive clerk of court Emma Rosario Lorbes for their appropriate and favorable action.
Earlier, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza said he was spearheading the signing of "Covenant of Unity" among top government officials, business and religious leaders who have consistently pressed the government to release Estrada from prison for the sake of national reconciliation.
He said Estrada’s release “appears to be the missing link in the journey toward national reconciliation.”
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it is strongly supporting the Covenant of Unity, saying that the release of Estrada from detention pending court resolution “is a giant step in the path toward political peace and national reconciliation especially at the onset of the New Year.”
Lawyer Miguel Varela, PCCI chairman, pointed out the Covenant of Unity “is seen to lift a huge barrier to national unity and reconciliation.”
He said releasing Estrada “would be a top-drawer in the Philippine political cauldron that is being swept by hate and political squabbling that pulls all plugs stopping the inflow of both foreign and local investments.”