Comelec Second Division committed grave abuse of discretion – Poe’s counsel
A lawyer of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said the Commission on Election (Comelec) Second Division has committed “grave abuse of discretion” when it ruled to cancel the candidacy for president of the lady senator.
Poe’s legal counsel Atty. George Garcia said they would file a motion for reconsideration on Monday and point it to the Comelec en banc that the second division did not consider their almost 500 pages of evidences during the discussion of the case.
”We will prove that they (Second Division) ignored and did not consider our at least 500 pages of evidences we filed in the Comelec. Actually, they adopted it as evidence but there was no discussion and that’s grave abuse of discretion,” Garcia said in a press conference in the Senate.
Garcia has particularly mentioned Poe’s oath of renunciation of her US citizen that the Comelec Second Division did not consider in coming out with 3-0 decision to disqualify Poe.
”When we have oral argument in the Comelec, that’s was our biggest single evidence that Comelec should look at,” Garcia said.
The document, he said, would prove that Poe was already present in the Philippines since May 2005 although Poe came home from the United States when her father Fernando Poe Jr. died in December 2004.
In the questionnaire of the renunciation document which she filed at the US Embassy on July 12, 2011, Poe answered: “I became a resident of the Philippines once again since 2005.”
She also said her mother, Susan Roces, is still residence of the Philippines and that she and her husband, Neil Llamanzares, were already employed and own properties in the country.
”As a dual citizen (Filipino-American) since 2006, I’ve voted in two Philippine national elections. My three children study and reside in the Philippines at the time I performed the act as described in Part 1 Item 6,” Poe added.
Garcia said the only document that the Second Division used in its decision was the certificate of candidacy for senator that Poe filed for the 2013 senatorial election.
”You are disqualifying Senator Grace Poe based on one evidence? It’s not proper. Believe me, if that is only the evidence, even the SC will not agree with them,” Garcia said.
Garcia said they were also studying the possibility of asking the three Comelec Second Division commissioners — Al Parreno, Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas to inhibit once their motion for reconsideration was tackled in the Comelec en banc.
Poe also joined the press conference and vowed to continue the fight she is dedicating to the foundlings like her.
”I fight for the rights of the foundlings. Like the rest of you, they, too deserve recognition as natural born citizens of our country. Like you, they too have rights second only to none. Like you, they too deserve to occupy their rightful place in society. Like you, they too deserve an equal opportunity to serve our people and our country. And oh yes, I’m sure you have not forgotten, I too, am a foundling,” Poe said.
”This is our fight against shenanigans in and out of government. This is our fight against the ills of society that pervade our land, poison our youth and distort our morals and national character,” she added.
Poe clarified that the decision of the Second Division is not yet final, vowing to bring her case up to the Supreme Court.
”To our countrymen , I’m here to assure that our fight will continue. What important is they will not remove my name from the ballots so that you will be given a chance to choose,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the decision of the Second Division on the disqualification case filed against Senator Grace Poe was not influenced by some people, as alleged by the supporters of the lawmaker.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista denied that members of the commission were being pressured to come up with the unfavorable ruling on her case.
“Pagkatapos naming na-appoint (sa Comelec), ang aming obligasyon ay sa taong bayan. We are grateful to the Filipino people,” he said, adding that, “No pressure… whatsoever.”
It was reported that the camp of Poe claimed that Vice-President Jejomar Binay and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas were behind the poll body’s decision to cancel her Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for president in the May 2016 elections.
All the present officials of the poll body are appointees of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
On Tuesday, the Comelec Second Division disqualified Poe for materially misrepresenting in her CoC that she met the 10-year residency period; and to have failed to prove that she is a natural-born citizen.
Atty. George Garcia, counsel of Poe said they would be filing their motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc on Monday.
He added that they remained confident in the integrity of the commission and that they would eventually promulgate a just resolution to the cases against his client.
“We will be waiting for the Comelec en banc kahit mahaba ang proseso. Kahit po sinasabi nila na exercise in futility, we will still undergo the process and ipagbabakasakali namin sa Comelec en banc,” Garcia said. (PNA / Jelly F. Musico / Ferdinand G. Patiunio )