Lawyers get into the act vs Poe
Pulling out all the stops, critics of Sen. Grace Poe are set to file in the Supreme Court today a pleading seeking judicial notice of “public reactions” condemning the tribunal’s decision that allowed the independent presidential candidate to pursue her bid.
Manuelito Luna, counsel for former Sen. Francisco Tatad, will file this afternoon a manifestation asking the high court to take cognizance of a lawyers’ opinion on its March 8 ruling that granted Poe’s plea to undo the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) cancellation of her certificate of candidacy (COC).
“This is a very controversial case which split not just the nation but the court and legal community as well,” Luna said yesterday.
The manifestation represents deans of law schools and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), whose board of governors came out with the opinion, Luna said.
The IBP is the organization of the country’s lawyers with an estimated 56,000 members. Luna said two law deans and four columnists will also join in the manifestation.
“The IBP and law deans’ positions will carry much weight,” Luna added.
Luna’s client, Tatad, and others who had filed cases against Poe—the Comelec, former UE law dean Amado Valdez, former GSIS chief legal counsel Estrella Elamparo and De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras—have pending pleas for reconsideration before the Supreme Court.
They are pleading for a reversal of the high court ruling that found the Comelec committed a grave abuse of discretion in canceling Poe’s COC.
The SC held that Poe was a natural-born Filipino even while she was a foundling who became an American citizen in 2001, then reacquired Filipino citizenship in 2006. The court also ruled that she satisfied the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.
The respondents were one in calling for another vote in the case, saying there had been no clear majority in the court decision affirming Poe’s citizenship and residency.
The tribunal had voted 9 to 6 to overturn the Comelec’s disqualification of Poe.
A separate vote on Poe’s natural-born status saw seven justices agreeing and five dissenting. Three did not take part. The court also voted separately on the residency question, with seven in favor and six against, affirming that Poe satisfied the residency requirement.
Only a majority vote—eight of the 15 justices—made a ruling a legal precedent, the respondents asserted.
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