Poe says Roxas, Binay behind disqualification move
Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay were behind attempts to take her out of next year’s race for Malacañang.
Poe spoke a day after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division voted to disqualify her as presidential candidate for allegedly making false declarations involving her citizenship and residency in her certificate of candidacy.
In a press briefing in Pasay City, Poe assailed the Comelec for its refusal to admit several documents that her camp had submitted to prove that she was a natural-born Filipino and that she had been a resident of the Philippines since 2005.
“I’m not afraid,” a defiant Poe told reporters. “After all the allegations thrown at me, it only strengthened my belief that we should not let this kind of people lead our country.”
“Who else would benefit from this? [There’s no one else] but my two rivals who, I’m sure, had sent their people to file these cases,” she said in Filipino.
Asked if she was referring to Binay and Roxas, she replied: “Yes, they’re the only ones.”
Poe said her two closest rivals for the presidency were “very persistent” in their efforts to block her presidential bid.
“They really want to eliminate me from the race. Maybe that’s part of their strategy,” she said.
Binay’s camp did not return the Inquirer’s calls seeking comment.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice chair of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), said he did not know Estrella Elamparo, the former Government Service Insurance System lawyer who brought the case against Poe.
“I don’t know her and she is not connected [with the LP], just to be clear,” Drilon said.
Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, a spokesperson for the LP, dismissed “rumors” that the Comelec Second Division’s ruling was made to favor Roxas, the administration’s presidential candidate.
Gutierrez, a lawyer, urged everyone to respect the Second Division’s decision “just like everybody respected the decision of the SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal), which was favorable to Poe.”
Voting 5-4 last month, the SET threw out a petition for the ouster of Poe from the Senate on the grounds that she was not a natural-born Filipino because she was a foundling.
“The [Comelec Second Division’s] decision was very clear and I expect all parties to defer to the legal processes,” Gutierrez said.
“There is absolutely no truth to allegations that we’re behind the disqualification cases [against Poe]. If you try to check, which camp first raised the issue of disqualification?” he said. “If I remember it right, it’s not us.”
Gutierrez was apparently referring to Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, former interim president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party, who earlier this year claimed that Poe lacked the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.
Gutierrez also said Roxas and the LP did not take the Second Division’s ruling as a victory, stressing that the administration’s efforts were concentrated on making Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, better known to voters.
Poe maintained that she presented enough documentary evidence showing that she met the residency and citizenship requirements. With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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