Lawyers group lauds SC decision on Poe’s disqualification cases
“We commend the magistrates for this decision. It was an uphill battle, but we firmly believed in the case and cause of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the reason we fought and stayed on her side till the very end,” lawyer Pearlito Campanilla, lead convenor of Lawyers for an Election Advancing People’s will (LEAP), stated after the Supreme Court decided with finality that she may officially run for president in the May elections.
It may be recalled that the LEAP Movement began to foray in the defense of Sen. Poe last year after several camps raised questions on Sen. Poe’s citizenship and residency issues, especially with the Commission on Elections early on indicating that it would disqualify her from the elections.
LEAP, led by Atty. Campanilla, even filed a Motion for Intervention before the Comelec in November 2015, stating, “That in this critical moment of our history, the movants beseech the Commission on Elections to give the people what is rightfully theirs by not disqualifying presidential aspirant Senator Grace based on their interpretation of the Constitution on whether she is qualified to run for president or not.”
Campanilla and the more than 500 members of LEAP have argued that “if true popular sovereignty is present in our country then it is but proper to place the ultimate authority of electing its highest official in the hands of its citizen in consonance to that universally accepted precept SALUS POPULI EST SUPREMA LEX (The Will of the People is the Supreme Law).”
Despite LEAP’s Motion for Intervention however, the Comelec still unanimously decided to disqualify Poe.
“For the upcoming presidential election this May, can it be said that the same is fair and free notwithstanding that the front running candidates are in the process of being disqualified owing a legal technicality? Legality, like morality or ethics, is never petrified. What is illegal now may very well be legal tomorrow dependent on how our lawmakers revised or amend our existing laws. Even the interpretation of what is legal and illegal varies dependent on the modality of the judge who decides a case,” Campanilla opined in January this year.
He stressed that what remain constant is that the right of the people to exercise the right of suffrage must always be unrestricted and uninfluenced, that the Filipino people must have the absolute sovereign power to elect their leader, that it is despotic for the executive or legislative branch of government to strip them of this right.
“With her leading in the polls, we are happy to see that true democracy still reigns in our country, that the people will decide based on what they need and want, and not on anybody’s, not even on the candidate’s personal aspirations, but their own, for it is their country and their lives that are at stake, they are the true heirs of this beautiful country and all officials whom they will install this May will serve the purposes of the people and will be expected not to stall the people’s interest, welfare and due benefits just based on a handful who will join the inner circles of the next president and especially not just on mere technicalities that the bureaucracy has created,” Campanilla stated.
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