Comelec opposes Poe’s bid to merge DQ cases
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is opposing the bid of Sen. Grace Poe to have the cases filed against her, which are now pending before the Supreme Court (SC) involving the decisions of the poll body and the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), consolidated.
“I don’t think we should agree to the consolidation because these are different cases. The SET case is on her disqualification as a senator, while the cases before the Comelec involved cancelation of her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) as President. Those are different,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon told reporters.
Guanzon also pointed out that the two cases involve different parties as well as different sets of evidence.
“We do not agree to a consolidation… but it still depends on the Supreme Court,” she added.
In November, the SET issued its decision favoring Poe as a natural-born Filipino, and is, therefore, qualified as an elected senator in the 2013 polls.
Petitioner Rizalito David has since appealed the SET decision before the high court.
On the other hand, the Comelec en banc affirmed in December two earlier rulings of its First and Second Divisions, which said that she was not a natural-born Filipino and also failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement.
Poe, subsequently, sought a reversal of the Comelec en banc ruling before the Supreme Court and has already secured a temporary restraining order against her removal from the list of presidential candidates in the May elections.
Poe’s camp also asked the SC to consolidate the SET and Comelec cases to expedite the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Comelec insisted it was not obliged to follow the SET ruling on Poe’s natural born status.
In its comment to Poe’s petition, the Comelec said it is totally independent and separate from the SET, especially since they have different nature of actions.
As this developed, a lawyer on Friday asked the Supreme Court to junk Poe’s plea to reverse the Comelec decision to disqualify her.
In a 112-page pleading, Estrella Elamparo asked the high court to sustain the poll body’s ruling as she reiterated that the senator lacked qualifications due to her questionable Philippine citizenship and residency.
The lawyer also asked the court to immediately lift the temporary restraining orders that the high court had issued on Dec. 28, stopping the Comelec from disqualifying Poe and canceling her certificate of candidacy.
In two separate petitions, Poe had challenged Comelec’s resolutions for the cancelation of her COC for President based on the Elamparo case and a separate but similar one filed by former Sen. Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University Professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez.
In her pleas, Poe accused Comelec of exercising grave abuse of discretion in stopping her presidential bid.
But Elamparo said Comelec should not be faulted for upholding the requirements that presidential candidates must satisfy under the law.
Echoing Comelec’s own position, Elamparo asserted that Poe had the burden “to prove her alleged natural-born citizenship.” She said Comelec was correct in ruling that “a foundling is not considered a natural-born Filipino citizen.” With a report from Tarra Quismundo