I will address this issue from two strictly moral angles - - from the OBJECTIVE and SUBJECTIVE moral points of view. Stated differently, I shall try to establish a) whether or not it was a legitimately moral pardon under the given personal circumstances of Erap Estrada and b) whether or not GMA knew these objective circumstances and consequently applied either the correct or wrong MORAL REASONS for granting the pardon. Furthermore, my arguments presume that Estrada’s conviction by the Sandiganbayan and the subsequent executive clemency are legally defensible on the basis of our existing laws. I leave that aspect to lawyers and legal experts.
Strictly from the objective moral point of view, it is publicly known and thus we are MORALLY CERTAIN that:
- Erap Estrada has not expressed any remorse, sorrow nor asked for any forgiveness whether addressed to the government or to the public who are the ultimate victims of the crime of PLUNDER he allegedly committed while President and for which he was convicted.
- In fact it is also publicly known based on his well-publicized comments and those of his lawyers, that they all INSIST up to today even after his pardon was already issued, that Erap Estrada is NOT GUILTY. Worse, they claim Estrada’s being an innocent and helpless victim of his political enemies’ vendetta and the unjust machinations of his prosecutors and judges including the Supreme Court, all of whom they claim must have conspired to convict him!
- Consistent with all the above, Erap has never personally and officially sought for pardon, and even publicly announced repeatedly that he has merely bowed to the “ADVICE” of his lawyers because it was useless for him to expect fair treatment from the Courts (again including the Supreme Court) in deciding his Motion for Reconsideration and further appeal to the Supreme Court.
- Thus it was his lawyers and NOT Estrada who formally sought “absolute” pardon from the Office of the President.
- And so even if technically the grant of executive clemency dubbed as “absolute pardon”, was LEGALLY aboveboard, MORALLY speaking however the ends of JUSTICE have NOT been served! It is because ERAP ESTRADA DOES NOT QUALIFY for nor DESERVE a pardon in the REAL MORAL SENSE. For how can anyone truly pardon someone who is not only remorseless but denies any guilt at all? Even God Himself requires sincere sorrow, repentance and FULL RESTITUTION in order to deserve FORGIVENESS!
And now let me tackle the moral point of view vis-à-vis the person who granted the pardon:
- GMA knew all of the foregoing objective circumstances and thus was equally or perhaps even MORE morally culpable than Erap, because at least she was not under the extenuating heavy pressure of the humiliating prospect of being in jail for a long period of time and with a mother in danger of dying at anytime now.
- She may in fact have incurred even far more culpability if the pardon was PURPOSELY and unduly hurried up in order to be made known to the public at the time yesterday when the people were focused on the joint Senate Investigation Committees’ latest lurid revelations. The latest shockers from the Senate included MURDER plots and credible reports on BRIBERY at the HIGHEST LEVELS of our government! Thus the news and publicity yesterday evening about Erap and his being pardoned practically eclipsed everything else.
- The attempted justification peddled by GMA’s media handlers which has been mindlessly repeated by some political personalities and business groups allied with the administration, is the much abused concept of RECONCILIATION. Partisan and politically convenient reconciliation so-called, is NOT reconciliation in the moral sense. The latter requires the indispensable elements of TRUTH and JUSTICE. Reconciling with one another by agreeing to what is immoral, untruthful or unjust is sheer mockery or ignorance of moral fundamentals.
In fact the Catechism of the Catholic Church is very precise and emphatic about the morality of human acts. And so as a reminder to the supposedly “devote Catholics” in Malacañang and elsewhere, I am quoting verbatim the following paragraphs from our Catechism.
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.
1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
LORD what a mess our nation faces! Come then O HOLY SPIRIT to enlighten the minds of us Thy struggling faithful. Come through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy well beloved spouse, and our VIRGIN MOTHER too….