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Poe asks Comelec en banc to reverse disqualification

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Monday filed a motion for reconsideration before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to reverse the decision of its Second Division to disqualify her in the 2016 presidential race.

The Comelec Second Division earlier ordered the cancelation of Poe's certificate of candidacy (COC) for president, citing "material misrepresentation" on her compliance with the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.

Poe's lawyer George Garcia argued in the motion that the senator declared in her COC that she will be a resident of the country for 10 years and 11 months by May 9, 2016.

"Respondent (Poe) had no intention to deceive the electorate or to hide a fact of disqualification with respect to her period of residency in the Philippines" Garcia said.

The senator stated in her 2013 COC for senator that she has been a resident of the country since November 2006, making her six months short of the residency requirement for president in the May 2016 elections.

Poe's lawyer stressed that Poe has earlier explained that she made an honest mistake in filling out her 2013 COC as she has been a resident in the country since May 2005.

However, pointed out that the recent decision of the Comelec Second Division was rendered in "complete and utter disregard of the overwhelming evidence on record."

The senator's camp has submitted various documents to prove her claims, including a sworn "questionnaire" she filed before the United States State Department upon renouncing her American citizenship.

Garcia noted that they were also able to present documentary evidence of the enrollment of her children in local schools in June 2005 and the purchase and construction of their house in Quezon City.

The senator has secured an identification card from the Bureau of Internal Revenue in July 2005, which proves that she has been a Filipino taxpayer for more than 10 years now, Garcia said.

"If the Second Division considered these pieces of evidence, it would have found that [Poe’s] statement that she will be a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months by May 2016 is not false," Garcia said.

Garcia added that Poe's declarations in her COC for president correct the errors in her 2013 COC for senator and reflect her actual period of residency in the country.

The lawyer also claimed that the Comelec erred in disregarding the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), which ruled that Poe is a natural-born Filipino.

"The Second Division should have observed becoming modesty by taking into consideration and giving persuasive weight to the decision... of the [SET]," Garcia said.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE

COMELEC

COMELEC SECOND DIVISION

GARCIA

GEORGE GARCIA

GRACE POE

IF THE SECOND DIVISION

POE

QUEZON CITY

QUOT

SECOND DIVISION

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