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SC rules in favor of Poe in DQ case

/ 03:13 PM March 08, 2016
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Sen. Grace Poe. RICHARD A. REYES/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Senator Grace Poe to reverse the Commission on Elections’ decision disqualifying her from seeking the presidency in the May 9 elections.

Nine out of 15 justices, led by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, voted in favor of Poe.

Aside from Sereno, the other justices who voted in favor of the senator are:

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The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Senator Grace Poe to reverse the Commission on Elections’ decision disqualifying her from seeking the presidency in the May 9 elections.

Nine out of 15 justices, led by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, voted in favor of Poe.

Aside from Sereno, the other justices who voted in favor of the senator are:

• Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr.

• Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin

• Associate Justice Jose Perez

• Associate Justice Jose Mendoza

• Associate Justice Marvic Leonen

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• Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa

• Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza

• Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta

Meanwhile, those who voted to disqualify Poe are the following:

• Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

• Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro

• Associate Justice Arturo Brion

• Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo

• Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes

• Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe

No details on the decision have been made available.

“Please note that since the Court has only authorized the release of the vote, it may not be safe to report which ground the Court ruled upon and used as basis for the vote, i.e., between citizenship and residence. Thus, it may be best to simply say, the SC grants Senator Poe’s petitions, 9-6, allowing her to run for the presidency,”High Court’s Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te said.

Te added that “the court will release the text of the decision and separate opinions in the next few days.”

“As you may understand upon a voting the court will finalize who will write for the court. That matter has not been decided, once the ponente has been decided, the text of the decision will follow,” Te said at a press conference.

Te added that there will be four concurring opinions to the majority decision and five dissenting opinions.

Poe, in her memoranda submitted to the high court, said the poll body’s decision to cancel her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president was “somewhat premeditated, and that bias and impartiality tainted the Comelec’s acts.”

Poe’s camp lamented how the Comelec “changed and manipulated at every turn” the rules of the game in deciding the senator’s case “to achieve the singular objective of denying due course to her COC, and ultimately, removing her name from the official ballot.”

The Comelec, they said, denied Poe of her right to due process when it disregarded the overwhelming evidence proving that although a foundling, she is a natural-born citizen and that she has been a resident of the Philippines since May 24, 2005.

On the issue of citizenship, Poe’s lawyers said the Comelec abused its discretion when it ruled that the lady senator had the burden of proving her natural-born citizenship.

A foundling, Poe’s legal counsels said, is a natural-born Filipino citizen based on the generally acceptable principle of international law, which presumes foundlings to be natural-born citizens of the country where they were found.

“As importantly, the burden to prove that petitioner is not a natural-born Filipino citizen rested on the private respondents, because petitioner is presumed by law to be qualified for the office for which she now seeks to run,” they explained.

On the residency issue, Poe’s lawyers said the Comelec “acted whimsically and capriciously, ignored settled jurisprudence and disregarded the evidence on record” when it ruled that she made a false material representation as to the period of her residence before the May 9 polls.

“The Comelec had the positive duty to consider and weigh Sen. Poe’s evidence showing that she had reestablished her domicile of choice in the Philippines as early as 24 May 2005,” Poe’s legal team said.

“The Comelec’s refusal to perform this positive duty, and its gross inexcusable misappreciation of Sen. Poe’s evidence, are questionably acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, which warrant setting aside the Comelec’s finding of fact on the issue of Sen. Poe’s residence,” it added.

The lawyers also maintained that Poe “acted in good faith” with regards to the entry in her COC regarding her residency and that there was no “deliberate intent” on her part to mislead the electorate.

Based on records, Poe began to settle permanently in the Philippines on May 24, 2005. After that, she enrolled her children to local schools in June 2005, purchased a property in late 2005, constructed her family home in Quezon City in early 2006 and sold their US property also in 2006.

Meanwhile, Atty. Manuelito Luna, counsel for former Senator Francisco Tatad, who filed for Poe’s disqualification, said “it’s a dangerous result, a perfect recipe for chaos. The Constitution was bastardized.”

Luna said they will file a motion for reconsideration.

Another petitioner against Poe, Atty. Estrella Elamparo said that while she has heard of such a scenario, she is still shocked “because the law is clear.”

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TAGS: Certificate of Candidacy, CoC, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Elections 2016, elections featured, Senator Grace Poe, Supreme Court
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