SC can act on pleas filed by Poe over disqualification during holidays – spokesman
MANILA, Philippines — Even if it is on holiday recess, the Supreme Court may act on a petition expected to be filed by Sen. Grace Poe’s camp to contest the Commission on Elections’ decision disqualifying her from next year’s presidential race.
The high court’s spokesman, lawyer Theodore Te, said the the high court’s rules have allowed the Chief Justice or the chair of the division to whom a case has been raffled off to issue a temporary restraining order or other reliefs in urgent cases.
“It depends on where the case is raffled. If case is raffled to full court, it is the Chief Justice who can issue the TRO; if division, it will be the chair of the division,” Te said in a text message to reporters.
He cited Rule 7, Section 6 of the Supreme Court’s internal rules, which has allowed the conduct of special raffles upon the directive of the Chief Justice, or in her absence, by the senior associate justice, when an initiatory pleading filed in court contained a prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining order or of a writ of habeas corpus or amparo and the case could not be included in the regular raffle.
“When the court is in recess and the urgency of the case requires immediate action, the clerk of court or the division clerk of court shall personally transmit the rollo (records of the case) to the Chief Justice or the division chairperson for his or her action,” the rule states.
Te said that the Member-in-Charge, or the justice to whom the case has been raffled and who has been picked to write the majority opinion for the case, could recommend to the Chief Justice or the division chair to issue a TRO, which would have to be confirmed by the en banc or the division upon the resumption of the court’s regular session.
Asked about the possibility of the high court convening a special session before the yearend, he said, “The court can’t act on anything unless a petition is filed. It’s premature to talk of a special session cause there’s no petition filed yet. It will also depend on the recommendation of the Member-in-Charge.”
The Supreme Court resumes its session on Jan. 12, 2016.
Comelec’s own rules makes final and executory decision regarding candidacies within five days from promulgation, unless stopped by the high court.
Rule 37, Section 3 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure states: “Decisions in pre-proclamation cases and petitions to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, to declare a candidate as nuisance candidate or to disqualify a candidate, and to postpone or suspend elections shall become final and executory after the lapse of five days from their promulgation, unless restrained by the Supreme Court.”
Some of the subject matters of the disqualification cases against Poe before Comelec are similar to the ones included in the petition filed earlier this month by Rizalito David, who questioned the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal declaring Poe a natural-born citizen eligible to be elected for senator in the 2013 elections.
David’s petition was included in the agenda of the special session held by the court last Dec. 16. The tribunal had ordered the SET to comment on the petition. SFM
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