Various sectors of Philippine society react to Erap guilty verdict

James Ryan Jonas compiled the reactions of various personalities from the different sectors of the society after former Pres. Joseph "Erap" Estrada was found guilty of the crime of plunder.

The complete pool of reactions is accessible here.

A summary of these reactions are as follows.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

We must be a government that abides by what the courts of the land decide on matters of dispute. We have moved on as a nation. The people are concerned about maintaining peace, order and stability. The people deserve a stable government and economic progress.

Vice President Noli de Castro

 Sa pagkakataong ito, ating isipin kung anong mga hakbang ang dapat gawin tungo sa pagkakaisa ng ating bayan.

I support all efforts [toward] national reconciliation.

Sa aking palagay, ang presidential pardon ang isa sa mga unang hakbang tungo sa pagkakaisa. Kaya naman umaapela ako sa dalawang kampo na pag-isipan ang posibilidad na ito.

Senate President Manuel Villar Jr.

We are saddened by the decision of the Sandiganbayan in the light of our earnest hope for Presidents Estrada's acquittal. I am certain, given another day in court, President Estrada will get justice.

Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

I appeal to our people to let the law take its course and stay away from any precipitate political action that could do more harm than good to the national interest. Partisan politics and negative politics must take the back seat, for we must now focus our best efforts on the overriding national goal—that of sustaining the economic gains we have achieved.

Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales

Let this be a constant reminder to the people elected or appointed to serve. The moral [lesson] in this is be moral.

The verdict, even if still appealable, should remind all that the privileged authority to lead and to serve is always, and without exception, for the welfare of the people served.

Senator Mar Roxas II

Nalulungkot ako at nakikiisa kay Pangulong Erap at sa kanyang pamilya. I shall do all I can can to extend my personal and moral support to President Erap in his appeal. Knowing Erap, this verdict will not derail him from helping the poor and giving voice to their afflictions. His legacy as the champion of the masses remains safe and secure in the hearts of millions of his friends and supporters. 

Senator Francis Escudero

Sa aking pagkakaalam conspiracy ang charge sa kanilang tatlo, ibig sabihin ng conspiracy a crime of one is a crime of all. Kung inosente ang dalawa paano naman magiging guilty ang isa. [Saludo ako] kay Pangulong Estrada, sa tapang at pagpapakumbabang ipinakita niya na harapin ang mga kasong isinampa laban sa kanya sa isang legal at mapayapang pamamaraan. Ito ay pagpapakita na bagaman may duda at pag-aalinlangan ang maraming tao sa independence ng Sandiganbayan buong tapang niyang hinarap ito upang patunayan ang kanyang pagiging inosente.

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran

Sandiganbayan guilty verdict on Estrada case does not legitimize Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency; legal precedent set when it's Arroyo's turn to stand trial for charges of corruption, fraud and killings.

Donald Dee

We're happy that were able to follow the process. This is good news. This is very positive [on the investment side]. We can now move on.

Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines

It is imperative for our people to let the rule of law prevail at this time because the decision of the anti-graft court is a milestone that underlines the constitutional precept that no man is above the law. Hence, we are calling on all sectors to abide by this decision of the Sandigan Bayan and pray for natural reconciliation.

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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.