SC junks 2nd plea vs Grace Poe ruling
BAGUIO CITY—The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the second bid to overturn its ruling allowing Sen. Grace Poe to run for President, saying the plea lacks merit and is prohibited under court rules.
In its last summer session here, the high court en banc also ordered the plea “expunged from the records of this case.”
“The court denied the second motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Francisco Tatad, through counsel, for lack of merit and for being a prohibited pleading under the rules,” court spokesperson Theodore Te told a press briefing.
Tatad, through his lawyer Manuelito Luna, had filed the second reconsideration plea, unfazed by the 9-6 ruling where the high court decided to void the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) resolutions canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC).
Tatad made the plea even while the court had said in affirming its ruling on the Poe case on April 5 that “no further pleadings or motions will be entertained,” putting a final lid on the litigation that began in December.
The Rules of Court prohibits the filing of second and subsequent motions for reconsideration, citing the legal principle that a ruling must become final and litigation must end at some point.
But Luna pushed ahead with filing the pleading on April 11, invoking Section 3, Rule 15 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court. The provision grants an exception to the bar on further reconsideration pleas “in the higher interest of justice,” and if allowed “by the Court en banc upon a vote of at least two-thirds of its actual membership.”
The lawyer lamented the ruling, but said he was not surprised.
“No amount of legal maneuvering can change the fact that the majority committed a grave abuse of discretion and dishonored the Constitution. We’re sure history will judge the majority rather harshly,” said Luna.
The ruling also came as expected to Poe’s lawyer George Garcia.
“[It was] … unprocedural and there was already a warning from the Supreme Court. It’s now up to the people. Let [their] will be done,” he said in a text message.
The high court had upheld with finality its ruling allowing Poe’s presidential bid, with the majority finding that the Comelec had committed grave abuse of discretion in canceling her COC.
Seven of the magistrates also upheld Poe’s natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency in the Philippines, affirming in separate votes her qualifications as a presidential candidate.
The vote defeated a minority who voted against Poe’s qualifications, with three magistrates abstaining from the vote on the citizenship issue, and two on the residency issue.