Comelec 1st division disqualifies Poe from presidential race
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - December 10, 2015 - 9:09pm

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 1:21 p.m.) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division on Friday canceled Sen. Grace Poe's certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.

Voting 2-1, the Comelec First Division approved the petitions of former Sen. Francisco "Kit" Tatad, De La Salle University Prof. Antonio Contreras and former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez to disqualify Poe from the presidential race in 2016.

The Comelec panel argued that Poe could not have been confused on the information that she declared in her 2013 COC for senator as the form clearly stated that she was required to state the preiod of residency up to the day of the May 2013 elections.

"It is indeed incredible to think that Respondent, a well-educated woman and already then a public servant with full staff support, including a legal team, would not know how to correctly declare the facts material to her candidacy for the 13 May 2013 Elections," the Comelec decision read.

In her 2013 COC for senator, Poe stated that she has been a resident of the country since April 2006, contrary to her claims that she has been residing in the Philippines since May 2005.

The Comelec panel pointed out that the senator's inconsistent statements on the declaration of her residence are indications of her intent and attempt to deliberately misrepresent a material matter in her COC for president.

"This glaring disparity proves that Respondent intended and attempted to conceal the material fact that she is ineligible to runf or President for failure to meet the ten-year residency requirement," the Comelec said.

The senator's camp, however, is set to file a motion for reconsideration on her disqualification, Poe's legal counsel George Garcia said in an interview with radio dzBB.

The Second Division earlier ruled to disqualify Poe from the presidential race, also citing "material misrepresentation" in her 2013 COC for senator.

Poe, for her part, said that she will appeal elevate the case before the Comelec en banc and the Supreme Court.

"We will appeal to the Comelec and the Supreme Court to uphold the truth, and the spirit and aims of our Constitution.  In the meantime, I assure you that I am still a candidate for president," Poe said in a statement following the Comelec division's resolution.

She also asked for a "fair consideration of the facts."

"It is sad that the Comelec First Division has chosen to ignore the facts just to deny me the chance to better serve our countrymen, and to also deny our people their choices in an open election," Poe said.

ANTONIO CONTRERAS COMELEC COMELEC AND THE SUPREME COURT COMELEC FIRST DIVISION DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY PROF FIRST DIVISION GEORGE GARCIA GRACE POE POE QUOT SECOND DIVISION
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