Poe, Duterte bids in limbo
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) en banc will continue to deliberate today on the presidential bids of Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Very likely we will finish deliberating tomorrow (Wednesday) but as to when we shall come out [with a resolution] I really cannot say. But certainly we are deliberating again … It’s not easy, we are studying the MR (motion for reconsideration),” said Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
She was referring to the MR filed by Poe in the Comelec Second Division, which ruled 3-0 to grant a petition by lawyer Estrella Elamparo to cancel the senator’s certificate of candidacy (COC).
Poe also has to file an MR on the ruling of the Comelec First Division, which voted 2-1 to cancel the senator’s COC in a ruling on a consolidated petition by former Sen. Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the seven-member commission en banc was not inclined to consolidate the MRs of Poe.
Bautista said it would be impractical to consolidate the two MRs although they involve the same issues in the petitions before the two Comelec divisions.
“It will not be consolidated. Tomorrow is the last day of filing of MR on the First Division case. Proceedings in the Second Division have started. It’s not mandatory to consolidate the cases,” he said.
He added that it would be illogical to consolidate the case after Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim opted to inhibit in the Second Division, citing earlier ties with Elamparo’s office.
“But he is not going to inhibit on the First Division cases,” Bautista said.
The two divisions had ruled to cancel Poe’s COC for President after she was found to have committed material misrepresentation when she claimed to be a natural-born Filipino and a resident of the country for 10 years.
The Comelec is also still deliberating on the validity of the substitution move of Duterte, another presidential aspirant.
“On the matter regarding Mayor Duterte, again, the en banc is continuing to deliberate on the issue of substitution,” Bautista told reporters at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Comelec’s First Division was supposed to hold a hearing today on the disqualification case filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor against Duterte and former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) presidential candidate Martin Diño.
Castor filed an eight-page petition on Nov. 27 asking the Comelec not to give due course to Duterte’s substituting for Diño because of an erroneous entry in his COC.
However, Castor and his counsel did not appear in Tuesday’s hearing where the marking of evidence was supposed to be conducted.
This prompted Duterte’s camp to submit the petition for resolution.
“I know that tomorrow (Wednesday), the First Division will deliberate, on the Castor case. After which, the en banc will continue to deliberate on its action with respect to the substitution,” Bautista said.
Motions for substitution
He said that aside from discussing Duterte and Poe’s cases, the Comelec would also take up other motions for substitution filed by local candidates.
Also Tuesday, Tatad asked the Comelec to exclude or drop the name of Poe from the list of certified candidates for the May 9, 2016, elections.
Tatad’s counsel, Manuel Luna, said Poe’s chances of getting a reversal from the Comelec en banc were slim considering that the members of the First and Second Divisions that ordered her disqualification were the same commissioners who would decide on her motions for reconsideration.
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