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Poe unfazed by latest DQ case

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe is unfazed by the latest disqualification case against her, this time filed by former senator Francisco Tatad before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday.

She also dared those behind the filing of the cases to come out in the open and face her squarely.

“We are expecting this. We are ready, we are not hiding anything and we are ready to answer their accusations,” she said in Filipino.

Her running mate Sen. Francis Escudero said the disqualification cases are unlikely to affect her standing in surveys. But he admitted the issue might set back her campaign a little as some political leaders might withhold support for her until the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and the Comelec resolve the cases.

He said latest surveys have proven that the issue on her citizenship is not significant enough to affect voters’ sentiments.

Escudero said he is confident Poe would be able to overcome the latest disqualification case.

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Although anybody can file a disqualification case against a candidate within 25 days from the filing of his or her certificate of candidacy, Escudero said there is a need to unmask the persons or groups behind what he called harassment cases against Poe.

Poe’s spokesman Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the cases against Poe were part of “dirty tactics” by some groups to destroy her chances in the 2016 polls.

“It’s sad that dirty tactics are continuously being employed to derail the presidential bid of Senator Poe,” he said. “Clearly, sinister minds have launched a pre-meditated and concerted effort to condition the minds of the public that Sen. Poe will be disqualified.”

He stressed Poe is ready to face the accusations. “We are confident all these suits will be dismissed because the law is on her side. The documents that will show that she has met all the requirements to seek the presidency have already been made public,” Gatchalian said.

Poe’s counsel George Garcia said Tatad “is entitled to his opinion and we will respect that.”

“It is, however, our position that all the requirements to seek higher office have been met by Sen. Grace Poe,” Garcia added.

Not me

One of her rivals in the presidential race, Manuel Roxas II, distanced himself yesterday from the latest case against Poe, saying he and his running mate Leni Robredo won’t resort to dirty tricks against other candidates.

Last week, lawyer Estrella Elamparo also asked the Comelec to disqualify Poe from the presidential race on the grounds that she failed to meet the citizenship requirements for a presidential candidate.

“We’ll always side with the actual facts, the truth. If these (disqualification case) were intrigues, in the end, we have a saying ‘the truth will always come out’,” Roxas told reporters in Filipino.

“Regarding these cases, I’m sure Senator Grace – whatever her answer or position on these matters – will answer them and there’s a process to be followed but we’re not going to interfere or ride on whatever these cases are,” he said.

“On our part, Cong. Leni and I believe that how we campaign is an indication of how we will govern. So we’ll campaign at the high level – we’ll always be focused on issues, programs so we can convince our countrymen that what’s good for them is we continue the straight path,” he said.

He said Poe was part of the administration’s senatorial slate in 2013 and that they had presumed nothing was irregular as no case was filed against her then.

“Now that there are cases like these, I think these can be responded to in a straightforward manner. There’s no mystery to this,” Roxas said.

In a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda declined to comment on the disqualification case filed by Tatad against Poe. – With Paolo Romero, Alexis Romero, Aurea Calica, Sheila Crisostomo

 

 

 

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