Escudero to Poe’s critics: Respect SET ruling on disqualification case
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged detractors of Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday to respect the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), saying criticizing its ruling would be an assault on the integrity of the body.
Escudero pointed out that the SET was created under Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, precisely to decide on matters such as the disqualification case filed against Poe over her citizenship.
By criticizing the SET’s decision, he said, their political opponents—many of whom are also lawyers—are “assaulting” the integrity of a constitutional body that was mandated to be the “sole judge” of all contests on the qualification of senators, and which the Constitution itself deemed to be “an independent, impartial and non-partisan tribunal.”
“Bilang abogado rin, nais ko rin galangin at ipaglaban ang Saligang Batas. Nagkataon lang siguro na magkaiba kami ng pananaw at interpretasyon kaugnay ng Saligang Batas at pagiging natural-born ni Senator Grace,” the senator said in a statement.
(As I, too, am a lawyer, I also want to respect and defend the Constitution. It just so happened that we probably have a different understanding and interpretation of the Constitution and Grace Poe as a natural-born.)
While he respected the views of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who claimed that the SET decision prompted him to join the presidential race in 2016, Escudero urged the tough-talking mayor not to belittle those who do not share his views.
“Hindi naman siguro dahilan iyon para maliitin o paratangan ako o si Senator Grace o sinuman, dahil lamang magkaiba kami ng pananaw,” he said.
(That should not be a reason to belittle or accuse me or Senator Grace or others just because we have different views.)
Duterte had accused Escudero of “using” Poe while Escudero asked the mayor not to use Poe as an excuse to run for president.
“Kung may nanggagamit, may nagpapagamit palagi. At hindi naman porke’t babae o baguhan sa pulitika si Senator Grace, mayroon dapat nasa likod niya o mayroon nagdidikta sa kanya,” Escudero said.
(If there’s a user, there’s always someone who will let himself be used. And just because Senator Grace is a woman or new in politics doesn’t mean she needs someone behind her or dictating her.)
“Huwag naman sana ilagay siya sa ganoong posisyon. Sa maikling karanasan niya sa Senado, naipakita niya na may sarili siyang paninindigan—sariling paniniwala na tinatayuan niya mismo nang hindi inaasahan ang sino pa man.”
(Let’s not put her in that position. In her short exposure in the Senate, she showed that she has her own resolve, own beliefs that she stands on that she didn’t rely on anyone else.)
Escudero said the fact that Poe had been given a birth certificate and passport, was legally adopted, and later allowed to run for and serve as a senator, meant only one thing: she is a Filipino and qualified to be a public servant.
“Hindi po nasusukat ang pagmamahal sa bayan dahil lamang siguro sa pananaw ng isa o iilan. Nasusukat lamang iyan sa puso, sa intension, sa galaw at sa gawa bilang isang Pilipino (You cannot measure one’s love for country through a few people’s perspective. This can only be measured by the heart, intention, action, and as a Filipino),” he further said.
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