Poe unfazed by storm over SC ruling
Sen. Grace Poe is not bothered by the continuing debate over the Supreme Court decision allowing her to run for President, which reversed the two Comelec rulings canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy over her material misrepresentation of her status as a natural-born Filipino and residency eligibility.
The Comelec and the private petitioners against Poe’s candidacy are reportedly planning to file motions for reconsideration of the 7-to-6 ruling which the dissenting justices and a number of lawyers said was not a majority vote of the full court, hence, did not settle the issue of Poe’s questioned citizenship.
“Let them be. It is their right to file if they want to. I am not afraid of them because [the SC] has made a decision, and it is clear that it favored us and it said we could run,” Poe said during a break in a campaign sortie in Cavite Thursday.
Poe said getting the vote of the people was more important.
“If our countrymen have made a decision and placed their votes, that is the most concrete evidence that you have been accepted and they cannot and should not do anything about it anymore,” she said.
The voting of the justices is expected to be clarified when they respond to the motions for reconsideration filed by the Comelec and the four petitioners who sought Poe’s disqualification: former Sen. Francisco Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, former law dean Amado Valdez and political science professor Antonio Contreras.
Some legal experts said they hoped the majority of the justices who voted in favor of Poe would change their minds about giving “privileged status” to foundlings and Filipinos who once swore allegiance to a foreign country.
Litigation lawyer Raymond Fortun and San Beda Alabang College of Law professor Bruce Rivera said that while they respect the outcome of the case in the high court, they do not necessarily agree with the ruling.
Rivera, in a six-minute video message posted March 9 on Facebook that has gone viral online, criticized the SC for allowing Poe to run for President.
“If we will allow a future leader who at some point in her life turned her back on her being a Filipino, that’s something I cannot accept. That’s why it hurts me most because the Supreme Court made being a Filipino citizen worthless. It’s already useless to be a Filipino and to remain a Filipino because you love the Philippines,” Rivera said.
He said he has nothing against Filipinos becoming naturalized citizens of other countries, but “the President we need should not only be qualified due to his deeds but also qualified in his heart as a Filipino.”
In the video, Rivera said he teaches subjects on citizenship, constitutional law and public international law, which tackle citizenship, statelessness and dual allegiance.
“To all of us lawyers, we know the basic principles of citizenship. As a lawyer, I can criticize the Supreme Court without being disrespectful. I’m sorry for being emotional but I am just hurt,” he said.
Rivera’s video has been viewed on Facebook 1.4 million times, shared more than 27,000 times and commented on by more by 32,000 users.
Fortun said the high court’s decision seemed to have elevated foundlings to a “super class of citizens.”
“One of the cornerstone principles of our country’s Rules of Evidence is ‘he who alleges has the burden of proving it,’” Fortun said on his Facebook account.