SC advises Poe camp from discussing merits of DQ cases in public
The Supreme Court has advised the camp of Sen. Grace Poe from discussing in public the merits of her cases, but a counsel for the senator clarifies that it is not a gag order.
“It’s not a gag order. Sabi lang ng SC since this is a very legal and technical issue, hindi dapat gawing pulitikal and each of the parties should be responsible para hindi ma-undermine ang proceedings,” lawyer George Garcia said on Thursday.
“Pinagsabihan ang both parties na huwag naman comment ng comment sa merito ng kaso,” he added.
A preliminary conference was held on Thursday morning in preparation for the Jan. 19 oral arguments on the two petitions filed by Poe which were consolidated by the high court questioning the two decisions by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc ordering the cancelation of her certificate of candidacy (COC).
Garcia said Poe would be attending the oral argument next week.
He said the senator would be represented by her lead counsel Alex Poblador.
The high court has set a guide on matters to be tackled during the oral arguments, including where Poe has committed material misrepresentation under the Omnibus Election Code and Comelec rules when she stated in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and her period of residency up to the day before the May 9, 2016, elections is 10 years and 11 months.
There are also sub-issues to be discussed during the oral arguments as indicated in the Supreme Court guidelines as well as procedural matters.
Poe’s camp will present its arguments first, followed by the Comelec. Both will have 10 minutes each to present their arguments. Petitioners Francisco “Kit” Tatad, Antonio Contreras, Amado Valdez, and Estrella Elamparo will be next with a combined time allocation of 20 minutes.
The Supreme Court also required the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to participate as “tribune of the people” despite its manifestation that it will no longer represent the Comelec due to its position taken in favor of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. RC
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