Grace Poe puts fate in Supreme Court’s hands
Senator Grace Poe asked the Supreme Court on Monday to reverse the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that canceled her certificate of candidacy (COC) and insisted that she should be allowed to run for president in the May 2016 elections.
Poe’s lawyer George Garcia said they filed two petitions questioning the decision of the Comelec en banc affirming the rulings of its first and second divisions.
The Comelec first division canceled Poe’s COC due to questions on citizenship and residency raised by former-Senator Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez.
In their petition, Poe’s camp said the Comelec evaded its positive duty under the law, and utterly disregarded its own rules of procedure and settled jurisprudence, when it refused to dismiss outright the petition filed by Tatad, Contreras and Valdez despite the absence of a cause of action and did not cite applicable grounds under the Omnibus Election Code.
In filing the two petitions, Garcia told reporters that they took the case to the Supreme Court after the Comelec said it would remove Poe’s name from the list of candidates unless the high court issued a restraining order.
“We are praying that while the Supreme Court is studying the merits of our petitions, they should issue a temporary restraining order because of a threat from Comelec that in the absence of a TRO (temporary restraining order), they will implement their decision,” Garcia said.
He said the Comelec’s decision was “whimsical” and tantamount to “grave abuse of discretion” due to the timing of the release of its decision a day before the holiday (Dec. 23).
“Para sa amin masyadong whimsical. Masyadong abuse of discretion hindi lang abuse kundi grave abuse of discretion yon. Wala pong Korte Suprema simula noong Miyerkules. Ngayon lang bukas ang Supreme Court para tumanggap ng ipa-file pero wala silang session,” Garcia said noting that he believed that the high court’s next session is on Jan. 12, 2016.
(For us, the decision is very whimsical. It shows not only abuse of discretion but grave abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court was closed last Wednesday. The Supreme Court just opened today to accept those who will file [petitions] but it has no session.)
In their petition, they urged Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to act on the petition while the court was on recess.
“Under the rules of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice can issue a restraining order while court is on recess,” Garcia explained.
On the alternative, he said they also asked the high court to issue a status quo ante order against the Comelec to observe the situation as if no case has been filed questioning the Senator’s candidacy.
Poe said she remained optimistic that the high court would immediately act on her petitions.
“I am optimistic that the high court, or Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, herself, will not only act expeditiously, but positively on the case to grant the temporary restraining order we are seeking,” she added. CB
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