MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ruled Wednesday morning that former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada can continue his bid for the presidential seat once more in the coming May elections.

Estrada personally appeared in the promulgation hearing and was accompanied by his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, senatorial bet Jose de Venecia III, Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, and FPJ Movement For Peace & Democracy (FPJMTD) President Rez Cortes.

The ousted president thanked the poll body for its decision to junk the disqualification cases filed by lawyer Evillo Pormento, and disqualified presidential candidates Elly Pamatong and Marilou Estrada.

“I want to thank of course the Comelec commissioners for their sense of fairness. I would say that this is not my victory alone but the victory of the Filipino people and our democracy,” Erap said.

“Serving the people is my luxury in life and I cannot exchange it for any material thing,” he added.

He furthered that the recent decision will pull up his ratings in election-related surveys.

The three petitioners alleged that Estrada's bid was unconstitutional beause it violates Article VII, Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution which states: “The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years...The President shall not be eligible for any re-election. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”

Estrada was elected president in 1998 and was impeached in 2001 allowing him to serve for only two and a half years.

He earlier said the allegation of Pamatong was baseless because he was not able to complete his six-year term and that the law only applies to the incumbent president.

“In the constitution, only those incumbent president and who completed his tenure of office of six years are disqualified,” he argued.

Pamatong, who also filed a certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the presidential seat, likewise filed separate disqualification cases against presidential aspirants Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III, Gilbert Teodoro, and Manny Villar, vice presidentiable Mar Roxas, and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

After Estrada's bid got a definite go from the Comelec, voters have 10 presidential candidates to choose from in the upcoming automated polls including Estrada, independent presidential candidate Nicanor Perlas, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan's Vetallano Acosta, Liberal Party’s Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, Ang Kapatiran Party’s JC De Los Reyes, Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines’s Richard Gordon, independent candidate Jamby Madrigal, Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s Gilbert Teodoro, Bangon Pilipinas Party Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Nacionalista Party’s Manny Villar.(Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)