Republic of the Philippines
JOSEPH E. ESTRADA,
G. R. Nos. 146710-15
March 2, 2001
ANIANO DESIERTO, in his capacity as Ombudsman,
RAMON GONZALES, VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION,
GRAFT FREE PHILIPPINES FOUNDATION, INC., LEONARD DE VERA,
DENNIS FUNA, ROMEO CAPULONG and ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR.,
JOSEPH E. ESTRADA,
G. R. No. 146738
March 2, 2001
D E C I S I O N
On the line in the cases at bar is the office of the President. Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada alleges that he is the President on leave while respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo claims she is the President. The warring personalities are important enough but more transcendental are the constitutional issues embedded on the parties’ dispute. While the significant issues are many, the jugular issue involves the relationship between the ruler and the ruled in a democracy, Philippine style.
First, we take a view of the panorama of events that precipitated the crisis in the office of the President.
In the May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected President while respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected Vice-President. Some ten (10) million Filipinos voted for the petitioner believing he would rescue them from life’s adversity. Both petitioner and the respondent were to serve a six-year term commencing on June 30, 1998.
From the beginning of his term, however, petitioner was plagued by a plethora of problems that slowly but surely eroded his popularity. His sharp descent from power started on October 4, 2000. Ilocos Sur Governor, Luis “Chavit” Singson, a longtime friend of the petitioner, went on air and accused the petitioner, his family and friends of receiving millions of pesos from juetenglords. 
The expose immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, October 5, 2000, Senator Teofisto Guingona Jr, then the Senate Minority Leader, took the floor and delivered a fiery privilege speech entitled “I Accuse.” He accused the petitioner of receiving some P220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 1998 to August 2000. He also charged that the petitioner took from Governor Singson P70 million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by then Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee (then headed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel) and the Committee on Justice (then headed by Senator Renato Cayetano) for joint investigation. 
The House of Representatives did no less. The House Committee on Public Order and Security, then headed by Representative Roilo Golez, decided to investigate the exposé of Governor Singson. On the other hand, Representatives Heherson Alvarez, Ernesto Herrera and Michael Defensor spearheaded the move to impeach the petitioner.
Calls for the resignation of the petitioner filled the air. On October 11, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin issued a pastoral statement in behalf of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila, asking petitioner to step down from the presidency as he had lost the moral authority to govern.  Two days later or on October 13, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine joined the cry for the resignation of the petitioner.  Four days later, or on October 17, former President Corazon C. Aquino also demanded that the petitioner take the “supreme self-sacrifice” of...