Comelec has authority when it disqualified Poe, says veteran lawyer
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has the authority when it disqualified Senator Grace Poe to run for President, a veteran legal expert said on Friday.
“She [Poe] is not yet elected President and PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal) is only for elected and sitting President and Vice President,” veteran lawyer Romulo Macalintal said in a text message.
Earlier, former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said the sole judge of the qualification of the President is PET.
“The cases at Comelec are different from the cases cognizable by PET. Too premature to say PET has jurisdiction on Poe,” Macalintal added.
Macalintal’s position is the same with Comelec chair Andres Bautista who pointed out that PET’s jurisdiction over election returns and the qualifications of a president comes into play only after elections.
“Brillantes should have dismissed all disqualification cases against congressmen, governor, mayor etc. during his term and let HRET (House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal), SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal) or Regional Trial Courts decide on such disqualification cases.”
“He is relying on technical terms on disqualification cases,” Macalintal said.
In its ruling, the Comelec 2nd division sided with lawyer Estrella Elamparo’s petition that Poe failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement mandated by the Constitution for a presidential candidate.
Poe is appealing the decision before the seven-member Comelec en banc, which is composed of the three commissioners from the Second Divisions, poll chair Andres Bautista, and three other commissioners.
Lawyer Raymon Fortun said Poe would need new and compelling evidence that would convince the Comelec en banc to reverse the Second Division’s ruling.
“As a general rule, the Poe camp needs to present compelling reasons before the en banc commission of serious errors by the Second Division,” said Fortun.
In its ruling, the Comelec division said Poe became a resident only in July 2006 when she applied for dual citizenship, or two months short of meeting the Constitutional requirement.
In her 2012 COC for the senatorial race, Poe had indicated her residency in the Philippines as “6 years and 6 months.”
Three years later, however, when she filed another COC for the 2016 presidential race, the lawmaker had now indicated her residency as “10 years and 11 months,” instead of just “9 years and 6months.”
The Comelec division said this was a “deliberate attempt to mislead or misinform the electorate or hide a fact from them when she su[llied the answer” in her COC for the presidency. TVJ