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Poe’s bid to get back into race a threat to country’s ‘health’ – DLSU prof

/ 07:10 PM January 06, 2016

SENATOR Grace Poe’s attempt to politicize a purely constitutional and legal issue is a threat to the country’s “health,” a De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor told the high court as he insisted that Poe’s petition questioning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision canceling her certificate of candidacy for presidency should be dismissed.

In a 41-page comment filed on Wednesday, DLSU professor Antonio Contreras said Comelec did not abuse its discretion and acted in full contemplation of jurisprudence when it affirmed the cases filed against Poe.

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The Comelec en banc affirmed both the decisions 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. Meanwhile, the Comelec second division canceled Poe’s COC based on the petition filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo stating that Poe failed to meet the constitutional requirement of a 10-year residency for presidential candidates.

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Contreras said Poe’s argument that canceling her COC for President is an act of usurping the powers of the people is “a grave and false accusation.”

“She conveniently forgets that the Constitution represents the general will, which is the collective voice of the people. The Constitution that has been approved by the sovereign Filipino people clearly stipulates qualifications for those who would like to run for President. One of such qualification is the possession of at least 10 years of residence immediately preceding the date of the election,” Contreras said.

“The petitioner [Poe] is forcing the republic toward a political crisis. In arguing that we allow her to continue her candidacy, she in effect is demanding that we grant her the privilege of seeking refuge in her alleged honest mistake, or in the incompetence or ignorance of her legal advisers,” the university professor pointed out.

“It will not violate any principle of reasoned judgment to pray to this Honorable Court to consider the enormous political impacts such line as of argument could have on all of us, on the stability of our political institutions, on the integrity of our law and our political processes, on the rationality of the electoral process, and on the rationality of the electoral process, and on the general health of our republic, if given due recognition,” he added.

Contreras was one of the four petitioners who asked the Comelec to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Sen. Poe on the ground that the latter made a material misrepresentation about her residency, where she lacked the 10-year minimum residency required by law and the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines to run for president.

The three other petitioners who have asked for the disqualification of Poe before the poll body were former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

Last December 28, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno issued a TRO prohibiting the Comelec from implementing its two resolutions.

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The two resolutions granted the disqualification cases filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo and the other one filed by Tatad together with De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

Aside from the issuance of a TRO, the Court ordered respondent Comelec to comment on the two separate petitions filed by Poe within a non-extendible period of 10 days.

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