Indeed, we may allow Joseph Estrada a little breather from harsh realities. After all, he prefers to dwell in the surreal—in his celluloid world where he is known by his screen name rather than by the one he was baptized with. Seemingly not content with that alias, he has even gone to christening himself other fictitious names like Jose Velarde, Jose Rizalisto and Kelvin Garcia.
We may grant his contention of being a president "on leave" on such bases he has enumerated—that he was never convicted in the impeachment trial, did not voluntarily resign, has not been rendered incapacitated, and much more, is not dead.
His first reason, we all know, is only true due to a feat of truly sycophantic proportions engineered by eleven senators so as to suppress the truth about their criminal president. That he never signed any resignation letter is by now an obvious legal maneuver only so he could evade criminal prosecution for the numerous charges raised against him during his botched impeachment trial.
Well, of course, Erap remains physically fit. We attest he is still very capable of being this country's mischief executive and commander in mischief, able not to govern, but to continuously loot the public coffers and lie to the nation about it through his teeth. As to not being dead, how we wish he were, as this country does not lack for characters who can truly serve the public welfare if they all just simply decide to gasp their last.
Still, for as long as he likes, Mr. Estrada can regard himself president. He deserves the title no less, in the same manner that the likes of Francisco Tatad, Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, John Osmeña and Tessie Aquino-Oreta so deserve to be called honorable senators, or Didagen Dilangalen and Jose Mari Gonzales honorable congressmen.
Besides, it may not be long before Erap ascends to a new “seat of power” anyway—as a mayor in that palace of sorts in Muntinlupa. Without a doubt, that status is one that he so justly deserves.