‘Only Poe’s rivals can exclude her’ | Inquirer News
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‘Only Poe’s rivals can exclude her’

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:26 AM January 03, 2016
Grace Poe

Sen. Grace Poe
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

Only the rivals of Sen. Grace Poe in the 2016 presidential race can ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to remove her name from the ballot, according to a veteran election lawyer.

In a statement, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said on Saturday that those who sought to remove Poe’s name from the ballot had no legal status to do so because they were not candidates for President in next year’s general elections.

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“[They] may have the legal right to file petitions to cancel or deny due course to Sen. Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for President, but they are not the ‘real parties in interest’ who could ask the Commission on Elections to delete her name from the ballot since they are not candidates for President in the 2016 elections,” Macalintal said.

He cited Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, which defines a “real party in interest” as one who “stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.”

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Macalintal said the rule applied to Comelec cases.

On the other hand, Section 1, Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules allows “any registered voter to file a verified petition to deny due course to or cancel the COC for any elective office.”

“Thus, former Sen. Francisco Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo and Antonio Contreras, as “registered voters,” could file petitions to deny due course to Senator Poe’s COC. However, their legal interest to disqualify Poe is limited to [that]… They have no legal capacity or personality to ask the Comelec to delete Poe’s name from the official list [of candidates] or [from the] official ballot. They do not  ‘stand to benefit or be injured’ by the inclusion or deletion of Poe’s name [from] the ballot since they themselves are not running for President,” he said.

“Their petitions will be tainted with politics if, at this stage of Poe’s cases, they would ask for the deletion of her name from the ballot, since their legal right is only to seek the cancellation or denial of Poe’s COC, which they had already attained at the Comelec level and waiting final ruling from the Supreme Court on Poe’s appeal,” he added.

Macalintal said the real parties in interest or the people who might be “injured” if Poe’s name was included in the list of candidates or the official ballot were the other candidates who filed COCs for President.

Whether Poe’s name should be deleted from the ballot would be a legal consequence of whatever final decision the Supreme Court would render on Poe’s cases, without Tatad, Elamparo and Contreras asking for it.

Poe has appealed to the Supreme Court the Comelec’s decision to disqualify her from the presidential election on the grounds that she was not a natural-born Filipino and that she did not meet the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.

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The Supreme Court has issued temporary injunctions to stop the Comelec from enforcing the rulings of its two divisions.

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, who is running for a seat in the Senate on Poe’s ticket, said on Saturday he was confident the Supreme Court would let the electorate decide the questions of Poe’s citizenship and residency.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Poe was already sure of being on the ballot after obtaining injunctions from the Supreme Court.

“After the case is submitted, it should take at least one month, maybe less if they prioritize it, as they should,” Belmonte said in a text message on Saturday.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of the Nationalist People’s Coalition said Poe had won half of the battle by ensuring that her name was on the ballot.  With reports from DJ Yap and Gil Cabacungan

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TAGS: Comelec, Elections 2016, Grace Poe, Romulo Macalintal
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