FORMER President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada maintained he is qualified to hold public office.

In a memorandum filed with the Supreme Court (SC), Estrada said the pardon granted to him by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in October 2007 restored his civil and political rights.

"Estrada was granted an absolute and unconditional pardon by the former President GMA. He was therefore restored to his full civil and political rights and thus obliterating his disqualification and/or ineligibility to run for an elective office. That said, his eligibility as the local chief executive of the City of Manila is unquestionable," the memorandum read.

He said a ruling in favor of his disqualification as candidate in the May 2013 polls will result in "massive disenfranchisement of votes," undermining the will of the people.

Estrada defeated Mayor Alfredo Lim, who was seeking a third and last term, by more than 30,000 votes.

Citing past SC decisions, Estrada said Lim cannot succeed him as mayor even on the assumption that he is disqualified from seeking elective post.

Lim is an intervenor in the petition filed by lawyer Alicia Vidal.

"The wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only authorizes a declaration of election in favor of the person who obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected," the memorandum stated.

Estrada, who was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan for receiving kickbacks from illegal numbers game jueteng, also reiterated his request for an oral argument so that his lawyers can further explain his position. (Sunnex)