Comelec body DQs Poe for president, case goes to en banc

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Grace Poe lost round one in her battle to qualify for the 2016 presidential race, but she vowed to continue fighting.

A division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday disqualified Poe from the presidential race for not meeting the constitutional residency requirement for presidential candidates.

In a 34-page resolution, the Comelec’s Second Division granted the petition filed by former Government Service Insurance System chief legal counsel Estrella Elamparo seeking to disqualify Poe for lack of residency.

Second Division Commissioners Al Parreño, Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas ruled the certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by Poe “contains material representations which are false, hence, it should be denied due course and cancelled.”

“Lest it be misunderstood, the denial of due course to or cancellation of the COC is not based on the lack of qualification but on a finding that the candidate made a material representation that is false, which may relate to the qualification required of the public office he/she is running for,” the resolution stated.

Poe, on the other hand, issued a statement saying she was disappointed by the decision.

“I am disappointed in the decision, but this is not the end of the process. We will continue to fight for the rights of foundlings and the fundamental right of the people to choose their leaders,” Poe said.

“I maintain that I am a natural-born Filipino and have complied with the ten-year residency requirement based on settled applicable jurisprudence,” she stressed.

Poe said her critics would exert all efforts to exclude her from the presidential race.

“Much like they tried to do when FPJ ran for president, and in the process disenfranchising the people as well. They show a lack of trust in the ability of Filipinos to make the right decision,” she said, referring to her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.

Poe said she will appeal the decision before the full session of the Comelec.

“I have faith in the process, and we are confident that the Comelec en banc will side with the interest of the people,” she said.

Elamparo sought Poe’s disqualification, claiming that the senator committed “material misrepresentations” in her COC concerning her citizenship and residency.

Poe is also facing three other disqualification cases, among them by former senator Francisco Tatad and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

The Comelec body agreed with Elamparo’s contentions that Poe was not a natural-born citizen and that she failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement for those running for president.

Citing the Constitution, the Second Division said that for the “purpose of the May 9, 2016 presidential elections, respondent is required a residency in the country of as early as May 2006.”

“She is not compliant with this basic requirement,” the Second Division said, noting that on her COC for senator in the 2013 elections, Poe answered “6 years and 6 months” as her period of residency in the Philippines, with November 2006 as the reckoning period.

The Second Division added that if Poe’s period of residency will be computed from November 2006, “as she, herself, declared, she will be a resident of the Philippines by May 9, 2016 only for a period of nine years and six months.”

“As correctly pointed out by petitioner, the sworn statement by respondent is an admission against her interest,” the poll body said.

On the issue of her citizenship, the Second Division said that being a founding, Poe could not be considered a natural-born citizen.

“Respondent’s representation in her subject COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen is false; respondent, being a foundling, is not a natural-born Filipino citizen,” the Second Division said.

It cited the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitution which have “consistently adhered to the ‘jus sanguinis’ or ‘citizenship by blood’ principle where natural-born Filipino citizenship is solely and exclusively determined by a bloodline to a Filipino father under the 1935 Constitution, and by bloodline to a Filipino father and mother under the 1973 and 1987 Constitution.” – Marvin Sy, Rey Galupo, Christina Mendez












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