Poe: Still too early to question integrity of 2 justices linked to Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the reported support of two Supreme Court (SC) justices for the presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the camp of Sen. Grace Poe said they would not question the integrity and impartiality of the magistrates, especially in cases questioning Poe’s citizenship filed in the high court.
Poe spokesperson and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian stressed on Wednesday, that they “respect and hold the members of the SC in high esteem.”
“We do not wish to comment or put color on speculations about their intentions and actions. We believe that they will see the merits of our legal position,” Gatchalian said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Wednesday that Justices Jose Mendoza and Bienvenido Reyes supposedly urgedon Friday their Lex Talionis fraternity “brod” Roy Señeres to drop his presidential bid and give way to Duterte’s candidacy. Señeres, an overseas Filipino worker representative, co-founded the fraternity while studying law in San Beda College in 1969. Duterte, on the other hand, formed the fraternity’s Ateneo de Davao chapter in 1974.
The news of the two high court justices’ supposed support for Duterte came a day after the tough-talking mayor “reaffirmed” his presidential bid at the Commission on Elections main office and after Rizalito David asked the high court to review the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s (SET) decision, voting 5-4, deeming Poe as a natural-born Filipino.
Duterte earlier said that the reason he decided to run for the country’s highest office was because of the SET’s ruling on Poe.
When asked if they would call for the two justices to inhibit on Poe’s case given their supposed affiliation to Duterte, Gatchalian told reporters at the sidelines of a press forum in San Juan that at this point in time, it would be “premature” and “unfair to comment.”
“We know that our legal arguments are anchored on jurisprudence and strong legal basis and we leave it at that. We’re sure that they will base their opinions on the legal basis that we’ve presented and our legal arguments,” Gatchalian said. SFM
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