‘Opponents using 2-pronged tactic vs Grace’

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Sen. Grace Poe bared yesterday an alleged orchestrated move to destroy the senator’s chances of winning in the 2016 presidential elections.

Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, a member of Poe’s senatorial slate, accused the senator’s opponents of spreading disinformation about her cases in the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Kapunan said the disinformation drive is part of a two-pronged tactic being employed by Poe’s opponents to stop her from being elected as president.

The other approach, Kapunan said, is to disqualify Poe outright.

“Senator Poe’s opponents have embarked on a relentless program of destroying her presidential aspiration with multiple successions of highly publicized cases to demolish her credibility and/or invalidate her candidacy,” Kapunan said.

She said Poe’s opponents are trying to condition the minds of the voting public that she is a foreign national who is not qualified to seek the presidency.

Kapunan reiterated that the cases pending before the Comelec are “obviously orchestrated to form a mass of persistent disqualification noise to serve a brainwashing purpose.”

Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, has promised to keep the level of political discourse dignified, respectable and free of dirty tricks to help the electorate decide intelligently on who should be the country’s next leaders. 

He added that Poe has taken the same stance.

Growing clamor

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he expects the clamor to allow Poe to run for president to continue growing in the run up to the 2016 elections.

Trillanes said there are more personalities coming out and saying that the people should be left to decide on the presidential bid of Poe.

He cited the opinions of former President Fidel Ramos, former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes and even President Aquino, all saying that Poe should be allowed to run.

The petitions to disqualify Poe were based on the argument that she, as a foundling whose parents are unknown, is not a natural-born Filipino.

Questions were also raised about Poe’s fulfillment of the residency requirement for candidates.

Trillanes pointed out that there is a legal precedent in support of Poe’s position, specifically the case of her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., who ran for president in 2004.

“In the case of FPJ, the Supreme Court, through then Chief Justice Reynato Puno, came out with a decision that said, ‘It is the people who should decide because we are not the voices of all. We are the unelected members of society,’” Trillanes said.

Prudence sought

Meanwhile, the Comelec was urged yesterday to exercise prudence by including the name of Poe in the official ballot for the May 9, 2016 elections.

Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo made the appeal in the wake of the statement of Comelec officials that in case they disqualify Poe, her name would not appear in the ballot unless she is able to obtain a restraining order from the Supreme Court (SC).

“It would be a travesty of the democratic process if they remove Sen. Poe from the ballot without the cases being resolved with finality by the Supreme Court. Let us put this issue to rest to stop fuelling speculations that Senator Poe has been disqualified. I ask the Comelec to put her in the list of candidates in the ballot,” he said.

The Comelec will release the final list next month and then start printing the ballots. – With Jess Diaz, Marvin Sy, Janvic Mateo


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