Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Juris Doctor


College of Law



Thesis Adviser

Milagros Isabel Cristobal


In 2007, the Philippines made a strong stand in fighting against corruption when its former President, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, was convicted of Plunder. Nevertheless, the triumph of his conviction was quickly replaced by clamor for justice when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted an absolute pardon to the former president, only a month after his conviction for the crime of Plunder, notwithstanding his lack of display of guilt. Noticeably, the grant of pardon was announced and accepted at the time then President Arroyo was facing accusations of corrupt practices in her own administration. Numerous reports express that such an act of grace from President Arroyo was highly suspicious, politically motivated, and full of vested interests. Conversely, the pardoning power of the President is absolute and is left solely to his discretion. There is no specific standard by which the President may exercise such an all-encompassing power and he may grant pardon to whomever, whenever, and for whatever reason only to be found protected from any interference from the co-equal branches of the government. If thoroughly looked into, this presidential power may be viewed to stand above the law for it takes away the consequences of any criminal or administrative liability without having to exhaustively explain the reason behind such an act of grace. Given the recent jurisprudence of Risos-Vidal v. COMELEC wherein which the Supreme Court ruled that the pardon granted to President Erap was absolute and allowed the restoration of his civil and political rights, the presidential power to pardon must now be vigilantly exercised, most especially with regard to convicted elective public officers in order to preserve the integrity of public office, to drive for a stronger fight against graft and corruption and to avoid the repetition of controversial executive clemencies that cast doubts on public offices. Furthermore, this presidential power, if exercised abusively and improperly, may be a device used by and among these public officers to circumvent the constitutional policy that a public office is a public trust and violate their sworn duties to promote the general welfare and be the protector of the people. Thus, the President must exercise the power to pardon vis-à-vis the provisions of the Constitution that vests this exclusive power unto him. This thesis will look into this power exclusively granted to the President of the Philippines and provide for its limitations, which may be inferred from the Constitution itself, to prevent the use of the power for personal interests and gains of the President and his allies and to uphold the supremacy of the interest of the Filipino people.

Abstract Format






Accession Number

TG05859; CDTG005859


Pardon—Philippines; Executive power—Philippines

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