MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, December 16, to reverse the Comelec First Division ruling that barred her presidential bid, and to let the people decide in May 2016.
In an 89-page motion for reconsideration, Poe's lawyer George Garcia described the 3 petitions against the senator as “premature attempts to attack” her eligibility to become Philippine president.
“If the 3 petitioners insist on attacking Respondent’s qualifications now, they would effectively be asking the Comelec to deprive the Filipino people of their sovereign right to decide who should serve as the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines, which is obviously not a justiciable question, but a purely political one,” Garcia said.
He added, “That decision is solely within the province of the Filipino people to decide.” (READ: Poe not qualified? Let her run first, lawyer tells Comelec)
Garcia also said the cancellation of Poe’s COC has affected the number of people supporting her.
“Marami po kasing naniniwala sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na sa probinsya, na si Senadora Grace Poe daw po ay disqualified na, and therefore we will honestly tell you na kahit paano, nakakaapekto rin po ‘yon sa aming mga leaders, sa aming mga supporters,” the lawyer told reporters.
(Many of our countrymen, especially in the provinces, believe that Senator Grace Poe has been disqualified, and therefore we will honestly tell you that in a way, it has also affected our leaders and our supporters.)
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Their motion on Wednesday comes after the Comelec First Division, on December 11, cancelled Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC).
The Comelec division said Poe committed “material misrepresentation” when she claimed in her COC that she is, among other things, a natural-born Filipino citizen. (READ: FULL TEXT: Comelec First Division ruling vs Grace Poe)
Disregarding SET ruling?
In their motion for reconsideration, Garcia also cited a recent decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) composed of 3 Supreme Court justices and 6 senators.
The SET earlier denied a petition to disqualify Poe as senator.The petition is based on claims that Poe, a foundling whose parents remain unknown, is not a natural-born Filipino.
“Eh bakit ho parang nabale-wala naman yung desisyon ng Senate Electoral Tribunal ng Comelec? Ibig sabihin, kwalipikado ka bilang senador, hindi ka kwalipikado bilang kandidato for president? Mukhang magkaiba po yata ‘yon. Mukhang hindi po yata tama ‘yon,” Garcia told reporters after filing Poe’s motion for reconsideration.
(Why does it seem like the Comelec has disregarded the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal? Does this mean you are qualified to become a senator, but you’re not qualified to be a candidate for president? I think that’s different. I think that’s not right.)
He added that the Comelec First Division disregarded their evidence to support their claim that Poe has resided in the Philippines for 10 years.
While this new appeal is pending before the Comelec, the poll body is also tackling the senator’s other motion for reconsideration concerning another case.
Poe’s other appeal concerns the decision of the Comelec Second Division to also cancel her COC. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.