Comelec urged to rule on Poe, Duterte DQ soon

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday urged Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista to immediately convene the full Comelec so they can rule soonest on the pending disqualification cases against presidential aspirants Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Drilon noted that if the cases were unresolved, these would pose serious threats to fair and credible elections in May 2016.

“Chairman Bautista should fulfill his patriotic duty and lead the Comelec in immediately providing a fair resolution to the petitions,” he said.

He also said that the early resolution of the petitions against Poe and Duterte would give the Supreme Court (SC) sufficient time to review and urgently render its final verdict on the cases.

“Whatever the Comelec’s decision on the cases may be, I am sure that these will be brought before the Supreme Court for its final decision on the matter. The prompt action of the Comelec will give the high tribunal enough time to put these cases to rest,” he said.

“It cannot be left hanging. The earlier the poll body can decide, the better it will be for the country,” he added.   

Drilon also said that the continuing uncertainty due to the lack of resolution on the disqualification cases creates unnecessary political tensions. There are groups that would take advantage of the inability of the Comelec to immediately resolve the petitions to spread lies and disrupt the conduct of peaceful and credible elections in the country.

“The talks of election delays are nothing but a part of sinister efforts peddled by certain quarters that are out to put a doubt in the minds of the public regarding the 2016 elections. We must not to fall into that trap,” he added.

Lim inhibits on MR deliberation

Meanwhile, Christian Robert Lim, the lone Comelec commissioner who voted against the disqualification of Poe, inhibited himself from the Comelec en banc’s deliberation on the motion for reconsideration (MR) she filed concerning the disqualification case lodged by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, Lim submitted a memorandum that he did not want to have any part in the discussions on the MR because of his “prior relationship with Elamparo.”

Lim and Elamparo used to be associates in the Lim, Candelaria and Ocampo Law Office. Elamparo was chief legal counsel of the Government Service Insurance System.

Elamparo’s case landed in the three-man Comelec Second Division that voted unanimously to grant her petition to disqualify Poe.

Lim is the presiding commissioner of the First Division.

Voting 2-1, the First Division granted last Friday the three consolidated disqualification cases filed against Poe by former senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

Poe gets ready for battle at SC

Poe said she and her legal team are getting ready for a legal battle at the SC as she has little hope that the full Comelec will rule in her favor after Comelec’s First and Second Divisions disqualified her from the presidential race due to citizenship and residency issues.  

“I don’t want to say that I am losing hope with the Comelec. But of course, we also need to use our experiences as basis. So for me, I am mind setting that whatever would be the result, it will still end up at the Supreme Court,” she said in Filipino at the 11th death anniversary of her adoptive father Fernando Poe Jr. at Manila North Cemetery yesterday.

Poe also said she is hoping and praying hard that the SC would render a fair judgment on her disqualification cases.

Miriam to Poe: Continue campaign

Presidential contender Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Poe would have a problem if the SC would not immediately rule on her disqualification cases with finality, so there is a need to speed up the process of resolving the case before the high tribunal.

“Right now, based on the decision (of the First and Second Divisions of Comelec), her name cannot be put on the ballot. So she should expedite her appeal before the Supreme Court,” Santiago said in Filipino.

Santiago also advised Poe to continue her campaign.  

Although sidelined by sickness, Santiago said she also has to increase her public appearances to let the public know that she is still capable to be president.

“Her actions should be like that. She should not be scared… She is right when she said that what the Supreme Court would say she would follow. That is the statement of a true leader. Now, we should see if she would do what she said,” Santiago added in Filipino. – With Paolo Romero, Sheila Crisostomo

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