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Wanted: Categorical tribunal

/ 12:04 AM December 24, 2014

Neal Cruz may be right in saying in his recent column: “Erap to support Poe against Binay” (Opinion, 12/15/14). The thing is, I don’t think Poe will run for president in 2016. Indeed, as she had correctly and yet so humbly admitted, she still lacks two very essential qualifications for running: political machinery and administrative experience. That admission reflects that Poe is not merely concerned with winning (which most other politicians are) but, more importantly, with serving the nation sincerely and truly well.

Machinery, every big or small political party in the country can readily give her. But experience definitely entails quite some time to acquire. And so, maybe—in fact, rather more logically—Poe would opt to run for vice president, and easily win it! That would then give her a full six-year term, in addition to her six years as senator, to hone her administrative capabilities, and be ripe enough by 2022 to contest the presidency. As things are, the assumption is not farfetched that every other person planning to run for president in the next polls is already day-dreaming to have Poe as running mate, to thus guarantee his own winning. Among them, while we can name only three so far: Binay, Mar Roxas and Alan Peter Cayetano, a fourth one is definitely not to be ruled out: Estrada. I do not profess to be a political analyst because I am not, but my gut feel—which very seldom lies to me, anyway—keeps predicting that an Erap-Poe tandem is in the offing.

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Cruz incidentally mentioned that the Supreme Court would soon decide on the case filed by former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim contesting Erap’s legal eligibility to run for mayor. Truth to tell, under our existing laws, one convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (and plunder is one such crime) loses his right to run for any public office in his lifetime. The problem is, when Gloria Arroyo pardoned Erap, she restored his political rights, or the right to vote and be voted upon, apparently on Erap’s vow to no longer seek any other elective position in government. Which vow he breached twice: First in 2010 when he ran for president and in 2013 when he won the mayoralty of Manila.

I really wonder why the high court seems to be taking so long to decide that which, methinks, is a very simple question. That is, may a sitting president of the republic, in intent and effect, repeal an existing law? Howsoever the Court would rule on this is beside the point! The point is, when in due course it does so, its ruling should be perfectly straightforward and, for all intents and purposes, clearly categorical.

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I mean a ruling that not simply says the case has become moot and academic since Erap has long been Manila’s mayor. Otherwise, when Erap finally decides to run for president—I believe he indeed will in 2016, with Poe as running mate!—then, we will be back to square one on this issue. Alas, quite unnecessarily at that!

—RUDY L. CORONEL,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, Alfredo Lim, Erap, Gloria Arroyo, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Joseph Estrada, Mar Roxas, neal cruz
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