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Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 17:42 GMT
President Estrada: Should he go?
Philippine President Joseph Estrada is under mounting pressure to resign.
The collapse of his impeachment trial in the Senate has led to massive street protests. The Armed Forces have withdrawn their support and several Cabinet ministers have resigned.
President Estrada has called for early elections, but says he won't stand down.
Is he right to stay, or is it time for him to go?
This debate is now closed. Some of the comments you sent us can be found below.
I wonder what next for Filipino democracy if Estrada is indeed compelled to resign by force. How meaningful is a democratic government in which the decisions of the elected legislature are simply ignored if some segment of the population, however correctly, decides that the motivations behind those decisions are corrupt?
B.C.C., United States
He should go but only if the looming constitutional question is resolved within the framework of the 1987 People Power Constitution.
Any extra-constitutional means of ousting the President will open the door to future instability in the political situation. If we allow the Vice-President to take over even as the President refuses to resign, it will send a very bad message that we cannot abide by the basic law of the land.
Ebie Florano, Philippines
Stepping down is the right thing to do. What scares me the most, however, is how Arroyo has claimed the "Commander in Chief" position without any formal democratic process.
Following the autocratic Marcos years, the Philippines once again had the chance to emerge as a democracy. President Estrada's resignation would prove that the newfound democracy that the Philippines gained is still alive and well. If he remains in power, it will be an indication that the Philippines has returned to the politics of corruption and cronyism.
JTS, Boston, USA
Although Estrada's presidency may have been legitimised by his wide margin of victory, this legitimacy no longer holds true. Just like any other democratically elected official, he had a social contract to serve the people and their interests - not his. The only successful thing that he has ever done in his presidency has been making the poor believe that he is actually going to help them out.
I am a Filipino. I agree with Steve Mac. I wish one meteor will hit Philippines and wipe out only those corrupt people. So they can stay in power. It's a cycle.
Having been to the Philippines I find it amazing that people are actually surprised that the President is corrupt. The whole country is corrupt. If you cut the head off another one will just grow back in it's place. The whole system there needs overhauling not just the President.
Malou Carreras, USA
It's about time that he resigned. The economy is doing bad, the people have long lost trust and respect, and his cabinet and friends are deserting him.
Estrada should go...
I think ERAP should stay. He
must not give in to those power hungry
politicians who are riding on this corruption
issue. Let's face it; tell me where can you
find a truly honest and clean politician.
if you can find one!
look at our economy it's down, and yet we Filipinos
are trying to make the best out of it.
Only Filipinos can judge if Erap should stay or not. There are only two things I can really say. Firstly, there is no smoke without fire and secondly, the press and the opposition in any democracy with also vastly magnify any fault in a leader. If you believe he is a good man give him a fair chance, he was elected by the people. If he has done grossly wrong things during his presidency, he should go.
I truly believe that the actions of the President should set a moral standard for the rest of the country. Erap's infidelity and alleged corruption has already tainted the world's perception of the Philippines in such a way as to irrevocably stigmatize the validity of the democracy in place
If this is not the time, when is?
The impeachment movement highlights one fact. The Philippines is a young democracy. It has been independent for only the last 100 years. Yet already it has consistently been teaching the world in non-violent democratic action. What ever its flaws it is still far superior to any government that practices ethnic cleansing against its own people. It takes much discipline and organisation to produce street demonstrations without bloodshed. It takes a lot of maturity to admit to voting for the wrong person. What is an "advanced" democracy anyhow?
Rome Jorge, Philippines
Erap is a democratically elected politician. His term of office is 6 years. Unless it is PROVED he has done wrong whilst in office, he should stay in power. If you have a system of government in place, you should follow it and not allow disgruntled opposition politicians try and undermine that system simply because they feel they would do better.
Henrik A. Nyqvist, Philippines
If Erap goes scott free from the senate trial, it will only confirm one's belief that what Filipino politicians are on about is to play games with the common people. The motion to oust Erap seems to be nothing but a show. At the end of the day, it is the politicians who have the last laugh.
Dave Perez, USA
The Filipinos of this generation are the product of the 1986 People Power revolution of EDSA. They are more enlightened and have demonstrated their determination in the national political mainstream. It will already be difficult for Estrada to continue serving an aware constituency, who will not only march on the streets to air their grievances but are proven ready to die for their convictions.
What do you expect from Estrada, he is Marcos' sequel?
Definitely, he should go now. Like the characters
he's played in the movies, there's a time when he has
to give up and accept the fact that being a president is not his expertise.
Absolutely and the sooner the better. The sad thing is, President Aquino restored democracy to the PI and her successor, former President Ramos, was starting to turn the country around. Foreign investment was booming and the daily power outages became a thing of the past under his leadership. Erap squandered all those gains, and then some.
It's not all his fault, however. The Filipino people share the blame for voting in this clown.
He should resign and let Macapagal manage the country. Erap, you're not the man anymore! You are making the country worse! Have pity on those who have nothing to eat!
Let them that have never been involved in any form of corruption cast the first stone. Rather than trying to appear sinless, the energy of the accusers needs to be directed first against the cowardly MILF and NPA who are attempting to sow fear throughout the country. Then ALL government officials need to make a commitment to themselves, to their families and to the citizens they represent to change themselves and the office they hold and to stop further corruption within their respective areas of responsibility.
Elise, Hong Kong
From the 30's to the 60's, the Philippines was one of the leading economies of Asia. But when Marcos put his cronies in political and economic power, it became a Third World freak show. The same thing is happening again while Estrada is in power. Our country cannot afford any more cronies to further ruin our already destroyed economy.
In countries like the Philippines, there will always be corruption in government. Whoever is sitting in Estrada's seat, will have corruption charges of some sort. So it is not the president that has to go. It is the corrupted system of the Third World that has to go. But since that can't go overnight, at this point, nothing needs to be done. Estrada should stay and people should work hard to change their system and their mentality...NOT president. They should imitate US or other developed countries not only in terms of brand names and music but in creating a first world country as well.
Sudeep Pant, Australia/Nepal
The worst scenario for the Philippine economy is that Estrada should stay in office.
Before this latest scandal erupted the economy was pretty dead in the water, after being in a fairly good economic and fiscal position after the Asian crisis. The economy will go backwards until domestic and international investors feel there is a reason to chance their money in the Philippines.
Godofredo A. Alvero Jr., Philippines
Democracy in the Philippines is in peril due to the vested interests of several oligarchs in the country. Because of their selfish interests, they should stop pointing fingers at President Estrada.
The recent "impeachment" of President Estrada only proves that the citizens are ignorant and as uneducated as the politicians that serve them. Granted that Estrada did not complete his education but he has serve his constituents well. Most Filipinos who had demonstrated for the coup against Marcos are the same ones demonstrating against the current President.
He definitely should go. He has the brought the Philippine economy to an all time low. It's time for a change. Wjavier, USA
He shouldn't have been elected in the first place! His resignation is long overdue.
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