Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday she felt disappointed with the decision of the Commission on Elections Second Division disqualifying her from running for president due to failure to meet the residency requirement in the Constitution.
In her press statement, Poe said she will continue to fight particularly for the rights of foundlings like her.
”I am disappointed in the decision, but this is not the end of the process. We will continue to fight for the rights of foundlings and the fundamental right of the people to choose their leaders,” Poe said.
”I maintain that I am a natural born Filipino and have complied with the ten-year residency requirement based on settled applicable jurisprudence.”
Poe said her critics will continue to use any excuse to exclude her “much like they tried to do when FPJ ran for president,” referring to her father, former Filipino action movie king Fernando Poe Jr. who ran but lost in the controversial 2004 elections.
In a press conference, Poe’s spokesman Rex Gatchalian said they will appeal the ruling of the Comelec’s Second Division.
”There are legal remedies provided to the respondents. This thing, we will make sure that we will appeal to the Comelec en banc,” Gatchalian said.
— GRACE POE (@SenGracePOE) December 1, 2015
The Second Division ruling was based on the petition filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo who claimed that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino and has not met the 10-year residency requirement.
Gatchalian said they respect the Second Division’s ruling which is part of “so many processes that we have to go through.”
”For Senator Poe, there are legal remedies that we can explore and we will exhaust all those remedies,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian insisted that Poe has met all the requirements as presidential aspirant.
”I have faith in the process, and we are confident that the Comelec en banc will side with the interest of the people,” Poe said.
Gatchalian expressed optimism that the Comelec en banc will see the merit of their position on the disqualification cases, including the three filed by former Senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University Professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez.(PNA / Jelly F. Musico)
Comelec Second Division cancels Poe’s CoC for president
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division has cancelled the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe for the May 2016 elections for material misrepresentation.
In a 34-page decision, the Second Division headed by Comelec Commissioner Al Parreno noted that Poe did not give true information in her CoC, particularly her citizenship and the 10-year residency requirement.
“Respondent’s representations as to her citizenship and period of residency in the Philippines are both on a material matter and both false,” said the ruling.
It added, “Wherefore, in view of the foregoing considerations, the instant petition to deny due course to or cancel the CoC is hereby granted. Accordingly, the CoC for President in the May 9, 2016 elections filed by respondent, Mary Grace Natividad Poe Llamanzares is hereby cancelled.”
The poll body noted that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead when the lawmaker stated in her CoC for next year’s elections that she’s been living in the country for 10 years and 11 months.
“Respondent deliberately attempted to mislead or misinform the electorate or hide a fact from them when she supplied the ’10 years and 11 months’, to the question in Item No. 7 of her CoC,” the decision said.
It added, “In short, the declaration of ’10 years and 11 months’ in her present CoC for President was intended to hide the fact earlier stated under oath in her 2013 CoC for Senator that she had actually resided in the Philippines since November 2006. In her present CoC for President, she made it appear that she has been a Philippine resident since May 2006 so as to meet the residency requirement of 10 years for said office.”
The Second Division said that based on Poe’s CoC in the 2013 polls, when she ran for senator, her residency in the country is only nine years and six months up to the May 9, 2016.
On the citizenship issue, the Comelec said that the senator failed to prove that she is indeed a natural-born citizen.
“Even if the wordings of (international) conventions are deemed to have declared that a foundling found in the Philippines is a natural-born Filipino citizen, these international conventions cannot supplant or override the Constitution, which requires a bloodline to a Filipino parent to confer the status of being a natural-born Filipino citizen,” the decision said.
It added, “Consequently, it stands to reason that respondent’s claim in her subject CoC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen is false.”
Aside from Parreno, the Division is composed of Commissioners Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas. The petition to deny due course and cancel Poe’s CoC was filed by Atty. Estrella Elamparo.
Meanwhile, Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia said they were surprised by the ruling of the Second Division, adding that they will be filing a Motion for Reconsideration.
“We are caught unaware na ilalabas ang decision ngayon araw na ito. But definitely we will be filing an MR with the Comelec en banc,” he said.
Aside from the petition of Elamparo, there are three other disqualification cases against Poe at the Comelec.
The petitions were filed by former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, and De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio Contreras. (PNA / By Ferdinand G. Patinio)