Petitioners vs Grace Poe ask SC to reconsider
PRIVATE respondents who had lost their bid to disqualify presidential candidate Grace Poe have asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark ruling in favor of the senator, calling the decision “a 47-page perversion of the Constitution.”
In a joint motion for reconsideration, former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras, former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez and former Government Service Insurance System chief legal counsel Estrella Elamparo on Friday urged the court to overturn its March 8 ruling, saying the “ignominy” could erode the public’s trust in the country’s institutions.
“By declaring that petitioner Poe is qualified to be a candidate for president in the coming elections, the honorable court committed a serious misstep from which the nation might never recover,” read the 48-page reconsideration plea.
The plea asserted that Poe was both a noncitizen and is short of the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates, contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling that affirmed the senator on both points.
“Private respondents urge the honorable court to reconsider this patently discriminatory ruling, that can only but further degrade the trust that the public bestows on a government that it expects to exercise fairness,” said the respondents, calling Poe a “true nuisance candidate.”
The four, all petitioners in the disqualification cases against the senator before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), questioned the voting that won the case for Poe, saying there was no clear majority on how magistrates ruled on the separate issues of citizenship and residency.
Poe, a baby abandoned at a church in Jaro, Iloilo, in 1968, does not know her biological parents. Raised by her the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces as their own, Poe became a US citizen in 2001 after residing for more than a decade in the United States.
She returned to the Philippines in May 2005, months after burying her father, and reacquired her Philippine citizenship in July 2006. She renounced her American citizenship in 2010, upon her appointment as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
Fighting to stay in the presidential race, Poe won the case against her disqualification in a 9-6 vote, with the majority all agreeing that the Comelec had committed grave abuse of discretion in canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy.
The voting varied on the issues. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno disclosed in her concurring opinion that out of 12 justices who opted to bring the citizenship issue to a vote, seven held that Poe was natural born, while seven out of 13 voted that Poe had met the 10-year residency requirement.
For the respondents, this defeated the point of the majority rule.
“With the ruling of the majority today, a presidential candidate who is deemed a natural-born Filipino citizen by less than majority of this Court, deemed not a natural-born Filipino citizen by five justices, and with no opinion from three justices, can now run for President of the Philippines even after having unanimously found by the Comelec en banc to be not a natural-born Filipino citizen,” read the plea.
“What is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this court that holds that petitioner Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen,” it said. TVJ
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