To err is human, to forgive divine
The adage to err is human, to forgive divine is only true for errors committed unwittingly or without malice. Blame it on man's frailty for man is, after all, prone to commit errors in judgment. Noone is perfect! as they say. However, what if the error is done deliberately and continuously that it becomes a habit? A habit so bad that it subjected a lot of people as prey to its whimsical disregard for human welfare? Something that is so bad it brought hundreds of people live in abject poverty? Shall we forgive him?
Such is the issue on Erap's having been pardoned by the president of the country. Erap has been found guilty of plunder and was just awaiting execution of his verdict when PGMA granted him pardon, something he earlier stated he would have not accepted for it will mean a few concessions for him, viz., acknowledging that Arroyo is a legitimate president and that it would imply that he is guilty as charged. He took another route when he realized he would soon be sent to jail. Talk about "estoppel" huh, siu?
If I remember correctly, there was at least a proposal in congress to make the crime of plunder be treated as a heinous crime resulting to a death penalty. I do not know if that ever became a law but it just shows how erious the crime is. Someone in congress thinks that the deed is so dastardly that a culprit should be meted
out the death penalty. Why not? We only have to look at our countrymen living in abject poverty to realize that plunder is so immoral that while there are families who barely eat, much less have other essentials in life, there are those who live in extreme luxury out of the nation's treasury, something we all shared to build.
Plunder was proposed to be a heinous crime to become a deterrent for prospective and serving public officials to engage in. Erap's conviction and possible jail term would have set a precedent for all time and should have made these officials realize that the administration meant business. Arroyo did set a precedent. She
re-enforced that in this country, public officials could get away with murder.
OF course, this is all premised under the idea that Erap is guilty. That he had been given a fair trial and that with the battery of lawyers he had, his rights as an accused had been duly protected. If he was wrongly convicted, then that is another story.