Poe camp confident of winning DQ cases in SC
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Sen. Grace Poe is optimistic about the outcome of her cases in the Supreme Court (SC) on her disqualification from the presidential election in May.

Poe’s lawyer George Garcia said yesterday they believe the high court would see the merit in her petitions contesting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rulings disqualifying her from the presidential race, especially after the tribunal granted their urgent plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

“We are confident the Supreme Court justices will grant our petition and allow Sen. Poe to offer herself as a presidential candidate to our electorate,” Garcia said in a text message. 

But Garcia refused to second-guess the possible voting of SC justices on their cases or further discuss arguments in their petitions, citing the sub judice rule which prohibits lawyers from publicly discussing their cases pending in court.

He only reiterated their reason for seeking the inhibition of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo Brion.

He said the three justices should recuse themselves from handling the case since they took part in the earlier deliberations of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on the disqualification case against Poe by Rizalito David, a losing senatorial candidate in the 2013 elections.

The three magistrates voted with the minority that Poe is not a natural-born citizen unless she proves that either of her biological parents is Filipino.

The three justices had no immediate response to Poe’s inhibition plea.

SC spokesman Theodore Te explained that justices only decide on whether they will participate in deliberations on a specific case once the case is tackled in full court session.

“It’s a motion and so no response/reaction should be expected on the inhibition plea before the case is decided. We will know once the case is decided because that’s the only time it is revealed who participated and how they voted,” he said in a text message to The STAR yesterday.   

Carpio already hinted earlier that he and his two colleagues would have to inhibit when the SET case reaches the SC due to internal rules prohibiting them from reviewing their own decision.

The same issue of whether or not she is a natural-born citizen eligible to run for the legislature was resolved by the SET last month in deliberations where the three justices participated.

The SET, however, did not touch on the residency issue where the all seven commissioners of Comelec were unanimous in ruling that Poe does not meet the 10-year residency requirement in the Constitution.

Poe camp also sought consolidation of the Comelec and SET cases, which will be heard by the SC in oral arguments on Jan. 19. 

“Perhaps this may be a legal strategy on our part, but our primary purpose really is to expedite the disposition of the cases. If our motion is granted, it will be more convenient for the Supreme Court as it will just come up with a single decision in all these three cases,” he explained.

Poe hopes 2016 will be a better year

Poe is still hoping that she will not be disqualified from the presidential race as she welcomes the New Year.

“In 2016, we shall have the national elections that would allow the people to choose the leaders who will steer this nation. We greet this unfolding future with optimism,” she said in her New Year’s message.

Poe also outlined her own accomplishments as senator when she looked into the Mamasapano controversy and the issues hounding the Metro Rail Transit as chairperson of the Senate committee on public order, and the subcommittee on public services.              – With Christina Mendez

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