Escudero can’t replace Poe if she’s disqualified
TACLOBAN CITY—Vice presidential aspirant Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero cannot become a substitute for Sen. Grace Poe in case she loses in her legal battle in the race for the presidency.
Poe is facing several disqualification cases stemming from arguments that she has not completed the residency requirement to run for President and as a foundling, she could not automatically be considered a natural-born Filipino.
Escudero, Poe’s running mate, said he could not replace Poe because she filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) as an independent.
Only a fellow party member could be a substitute for a candidate bowing out of the race.
Escudero himself also filed his COC as an independent.
But even if it were permissible, he said replacing Poe was not part of the plan and was not even discussed at all.
Escudero said he was confident Poe could hurdle the disqualification cases against her because he was sure of her arguments on her citizenship and residency status.
He said those who are saying Poe is not natural-born should prove their claim.
Poe is facing three petitions before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to disqualify her from running for president.
She is also battling a case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) that seeks to unseat her as a legislator and a related case in the Comelec accusing her of material misrepresentation in her COC for the Senate.
Escudero said the Comelec could wait for the SET case to be concluded before deciding on the petitions against Poe, or issue its own ruling.
The SET case is moving along, and Poe’s camp has asked for more time for her to submit results of her DNA test with potential relatives, a move that could help determine the identity of her parent or parents and prove her citizenship status.
Her camp has said that even without a DNA test, it believes in the strength of her legal arguments. The DNA test would just be confirmatory.
Escudero said that even if the DNA test turns out negative, it would not mean that Poe would lose her case. It would just mean that she would have to keep looking for her parents.