Poe camp leaves inhibition up to Comelec execs

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Grace Poe did not ask the 3 members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division to inhibit from the case filed against the senator by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

This, after the Second Division in a unanimous decision granted Elamparo's petition and ordered the cancellation of Poe's certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in the 2016 elections.

Poe's lawyer George Garcia filed a 63-page motion for reconsideration on Monday, December 7 at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila. They are hoping for a reversal at the Comelec en banc, which includes the 3 commissioners from the Second Division. 

"Wala po kaming pinapa-inhibit na commissioners although sinuggest po namin na baka naman – at nakadepende na sa kanila pong diskresyon – sapagkat kanilang desisyon po ang aming kinukwestyon ay nasa kanila na po yan kung dedesisyunan nila na mag-voluntary inhibit," Garcia told reporters on Monday.

(We did not ask any commissioner to inhibit although we suggested that maybe – and this depends on their own discretion – since it is their decision we are questioning, it is up to them if they decide to inhibit voluntarily.)

Garcia said their camp still believes in the "credibility, integrity, and independence" of the 3 commissioners who are part of the division: Al Parreño, Arthur Lim, and Sheriff Abas.

"Naniniwala pa rin kami na pwedeng magbago ang kanilang boto. Pwedeng pagtingin nila sa aming mga ebidensya, baka sakali na 'yung ebidensya ay tingnan nila ng kauna-unahang pagtingin at sabihin nilang tama nga po kami."

(We still believe they can still change their votes. It is possible that after they see our evidence, maybe they will look at the evidence for the first time and say we are right all along.)

'Look at our evidence'

Garcia said the division earlier committed "errors in judgment and grave abuse of discretion" when it "disregarded" the evidence presented by their camp.

The division granted Elamparo's petition and ruled that Poe has not met the 10-year residency requirement for a president since she wrote in her 2013 COC for senator that she has been a resident of the Philippines for 6 years and 6 months. (READ: Grace Poe's residency in PH: When do we start counting?)

"Sana tingnang mabuti 'yung mga ebidensya namin. Kapag na-review nila at puro kasinungalingan, walang kwenta, okay lang po, tatanggapin namin, pero sana tingnan nila ng mabuti," Garcia said.

(I hope they take a good look at our evidence. If after their review, they find out it is full of lies or has no value, that's okay, we will accept that, but I hope they take a good look at it.)

After filing their appeal before the Second Division, Poe's camp expects the division to elevate the motion to the en banc Tuesday, December 8.

Garcia asked the Comelec to treat this case against Poe as any ordinary case and not a special one. (READ: Lawyer asks Comelec: Why prioritize disqualification cases vs Grace Poe?)

"Base sa aking karanasan…Hindi po siguro aabutin na makapagdesisyon kaagad ang Comelec hanggang December 15. Sana naman po, ang aming pakiusap, 'wag naman po sanang i-compromise 'yun pong pag-aaral mismo sa kaso at 'yung pag-aaral mismo ng aming ebidensya sa hinahabol nating timetable na [December 15]," he said.

(Based on my experience...The Comelec may not have a final decision on this case until December 15. Our request is that they don't compromise studying the actual case and the actual evidence just so they can fit it into the timetable of December 15.)

The poll body is scheduled to release the official list of candidates on December 15. Garcia said Poe's name should not be removed from the list until a final decision is made on the pending disqualification cases at the Comelec. (READ: Poe not qualified? Let her run first, lawyer tells Comelec Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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