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Poe faces new poll disqualification suit

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Poe faces new poll disqualification suit

GRACE-CHIZ / OCTOBER 15, 2015 Sen. Grace Poe and running mate Sen. Francis Escudero file their certificate of candidacy respectively at the COMELEC on Thursday, October 15, 2015. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Sen. Grace Poe and running mate Sen. Francis Escudero file their certificate of candidacy respectively at the Comelec office, Oct. 15.  GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The camp of Sen. Grace Poe sees something sinister in the fresh moves to disqualify her from running for the presidency in the 2016 elections, saying it was an effort to subvert the people’s will.

But Poe said on Friday that she was no longer surprised by the development and that her camp was ready with its response.

“We believe their intention is to simply subvert the will of the people,” she said in a text message.

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Estrella Elamparo lodged Friday in the Commission on Elections law department a petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Poe for allegedly lying about her being a natural-born Filipino citizen and meeting the 10-year residency requirement for President.

“This case is not about the right to be a Filipino. This case is not even about patriotism. Petitioner does not seek to deprive or trample upon respondent’s human right to her citizenship; neither is petitioner questioning her patriotism. This case is about certainty—certainty that the person who will occupy the highest post in the land complies with the fundamental law of the State. There is simply no room for doubt here and if there is even a scintilla or foreshadowing of it, she must be disqualified,” Elamparo said in her 71-page petition.

Elamparo is a senior partner at Divina Law office. She is the former chief legal counsel of the Government Service Insurance System and also once served as prosecutor at the Department of Justice.

Poe’s new spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, described the case as “harassment.”

Gatchalian said documents buttressing Poe’s argument that she is natural-born and qualified to hold elective office have already been submitted to the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

“These documents clearly prove that these suits are just baseless political antics,” he said.

He added that Poe was confident the cases against her would be denied because the law is behind her.

Elamparo’s allegations and arguments are similar to those raised by Rizalito David, a defeated senatorial candidate who filed a disqualification case against Poe with the SET.

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“Respondent, being a foundling, cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen under the provisions of the Constitution. [Her] adoption did not have the effect of transmitting or conferring upon her the status of natural-born Filipino citizen,” Elamparo said.

The lawyer said the presumption that Poe is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines is not sufficient to meet the citizenship requirement under the Constitution for those who want to be President.

“Citizenship is determined by blood, not by place of birth, so it is she who asserts citizenship by place of birth who has the burden to prove her citizenship,” she said.

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TAGS: Commission on Elections, disqualification case, Elections 2016, Grace Poe, Poe, Rex Gatchalian, Senate Electoral Tribunal, Senator Poe
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