Poe lawyer ‘begs’ SC justices to inhibit from DQ cases on citizenship
Senator Grace Poe’s lawyer is “begging” the three magistrates, who voted to unseat her as senator at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), to inhibit at least on the citizenship issue in four disqualification cases against her at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The three were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Arturo Brion, who had already inhibited from participating in the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the SET decision.
“Sinasabi po namin baka naman po pwe-pwede, kahit man lang sa issue ng citizenship na nanggaling po sa Comelec kasi po syempre para po sa amin, para po bang nagkaroon na ng tinatawag nating prejudgment…sa issue ng citizenship,” Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia, said in a television interview on Tuesday.
(We asked if it was possible for them (to inhibit) on the issue of citizenship at the Comelec because, of course, for us, there has been what can be called a prejudgment…on the issue of citizenship.)
“So para naman po maiwasan yung tinatawag na prejudgment, kami po ay nagmamakaawa at naninikluhod, baka pwepwedeng hindi na sila mag-participate sa issue na yan na galing sa Comelec,” Garcia added.
(So for us, in order to avoid what can be called a prejudgment, we are pleading and begging if it is possible for them not to participate in that (citizenship) issue at the Comelec.)
The Comelec earlier ruled to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president in the 2016 elections over her citizenship and residency.
Poe’s citizenship was the same issue raised in a quo warranto petition filed at the SET by nuisance presidential bet Rizalito David. However, the tribunal, voting 5-4, junked the petition. The three justices were among those who voted in favor of David’s petition.
And while they have a pending motion seeking for the inhibition of the three justices from the Comelec cases, Garcia acknowledged that they could only appeal, but not compel, to them to also do the same on the Comelec cases.
“Ito naman po ay personal na decision ng tatlong mahistrado pero po kung sasabihin naman nilang magpa-participate pa rin sila at titingnan nila ng mas malalim na pagtingin itong issue ng citizenship na naggaling sa Comelec, wala naman po kaming magagawa dun. Wala naman pong rules, o wala naman po talagang basehan na permanenteng guidelines tungkol sa bagay na yan,” he said.
(This is a personal decision of the three magistrates but if they will tell that they will still participate and they will look deeper into the issue of citizenship at the Comelec, there is nothing we can do. There are no rules or standard and permanent guidelines on that matter.)
Asked what they were afraid if the three justices would not inhibit from the Comelec cases, the lawyer said: “Hindi naman po sa natatakot pero sila po kasi ay nagkaroon na ng decision doon po sa SET sa parehong issue so kung kayo po man ang pupunta sa ganyang klaseng kalagayan syempre po common sense would dictate na sila po ay maaring hindi na bomoto pabor sa inyo sa parehas na issue sapagkat nagkaroon na po sila ng judgement sa bagay na yan.”
(We are not really afraid but they already had a decision in the SET on the same issue so if you will be situated in the same case, of course, common sense would dictate that they might not vote favorably for you because they had judgement on that matter.)
Meanwhile, Garcia reiterated that the Comelec has no other choice but to include Poe’s name in the official list of candidates for 2016 unless the Supreme Court sets aside the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued on the Comelec’s decision.
READ: Poe wins TROs from SC
“Yung TRO ng kataas-taasang hukuman ay wala pong period na tinatawag. Ibig sabihin, hangga’t hindi po nila ito binabalewala, isinasantabi, yan po ay may bisa,” he said.
(The TRO of the high court has no period. It means that unless the high court sets it aside, the TRO is in effect.)
“Kaya po ang Comelec ay hindi po pwedeng magpatupad ng kanilang decision, hindi po pwedeng i-cancel or tanggalin ang pangalan ni Senadora Grace Poe sa opisyal na listahan at kung umabot po sa panahong wala pang decision ang Korte Suprema tungkol sa merito ng aming kaso at magpi print na sila ng balota, wala po silang choice kundi po isama ang pangalan ni Senadora Grace Poe sa mga ipi-print po na kandidato sa pagkapangulo,” the lawyer further said.
(That’s why the Comelec is not allowed to implement its decision, to cancel or remove the name of Senator Grace Poe in the official list and if it reaches the time when the Supreme Court has not yet decided on the merit of our case and the (Comelec) has to print the ballots, it has no choice but include the name of Senator Grace Poe in the presidential candidates.) RAM
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