Poe to accept SET ruling on disqualification case
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday she would accept any decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on the quo warranto petition filed by lawyer Rizalito David that questioned her Filipino citizenship.

“First of all, I will respect the law. If they are able to prove that I am not worthy (to seek higher position) because of the law, I will immediately leave my position,” Poe said in Filipino in an interview at Almont Hotel in Butuan.

Poe, however, stressed that her legal battle is not hers alone but also other foundlings in the country.

“If I lose here, all of them will have doubt in their nationality. It’s not fair, especially to us who have faith in law that recognizes abandoned Filipino children,” she said.

She expressed confidence that she and her legal team would be able to present evidence and arguments that would prove that she is a natural-born citizen entitled to run for public office.

 She said she is not one who would give up a fight and that she is banking on her mandate as a senator, having garnered over 20 million votes in the 2013 elections.

 “If they are saying that I am losing here at SET or the Supreme Court later on, who am I to say that I am here? But they should not forget the 20 million people who voted for me. This is a mandate that I respect and value.”

Rally to pressure SET 

David said the camp of Poe is planning to hold a rally on the second week of October to allegedly pressure the SET to issue a ruling in her favor in connection with the senator’s disqualification case. 

David told The STAR that a friend from the intelligence community informed him during the launching of the Reform Philippines Coalition at Club Filipino in San Juan that Poe’s camp will stage a rally to coincide with the supposed decision by the SET, sensing that they may lose in the disqualification case.

“Yes, it is a public pressure on SET. If they can produce a million or two million people in the street, it is like they’re saying that they control the Filipino people. This is unethical and so indecent,” David said.

The demonstration might be held when Poe files her certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Poe previously announced her intention to run for president in the May 2016 elections at the University of the Philippines (UP).

The filing of COCs is from Oct. 12 to 16.

David said that he has no intention to ruin Poe’s presidential bid, but said that his “good friend” informed him about the senator’s plan so that the public will be informed about it.

He urged Poe’s supporters to “stick to the issue” and wait for the resolution of the case before making any move that would influence the electoral tribunal. 

Poe’s lawyer George Garcia, however, laughed off David’s new allegation, saying that only desperate people would resort to a demonstration just to get the tribunal’s favor.

Garcia said staging a rally never crossed their minds

and they would not rally just to win the case as they have a strong defense.  

He added that they do not want to instigate Poe’s supporters, citing that the crisis that Poe is facing right now is a legal issue and not political.

“It is too unfair to our supporters to use them just for this. We can win this case even without rallies,” he added.

Garcia said that there might be supporters who would show up when Poe files her COC, but clarified that they would definitely not hold a rally.

He noted that Poe’s filing of the COC might be as simple as when she filed her certificate when she ran for senator.

Meanwhile, in a press conference Thursday in Quezon City, Garcia urged the camp of David to focus on the disqualification case they filed against Poe, and not on her presidential bid.

David, however, stood firm that whatever decision of the electoral tribunal on Poe’s disqualification case will have a “logical consequence” on her presidential bid.

“Once the SET rules that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, automatically she gets unseated as senator, and if you’re unseated senator, how can you run for president? She is not qualified as senator, and the qualification of senator and president is just the same, so under the law, she cannot run,” he said. – With Robertzon Ramirez



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