Poe: Let Comelec perform its job
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the poll body’s decision to disqualify her from the presidential race, Sen. Grace Poe said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be given a free hand to perform its duties, including the printing of ballots.

The Comelec decided to postpone anew the printing of ballots from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8 to wait for the Supreme Court’s final ruling on disqualified candidates, including Poe. The SC is hearing the petition of Poe to reverse the Comelec’s ruling disqualifying her as a presidential candidate for failing to meet the requirements on citizenship and 10-year residency.

The tribunal earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Comelec’s decision.

Senate President Franklin Drilon has pushed for the postponement of the printing of the ballots until the high court comes out with a ruling on the disqualification cases against some candidates.

He said the inclusion of the names of candidates in the ballots who could end up disqualified would cause chaos and confusion among the electorate.

But Poe said “the Comelec works within a realistic timeline.”

“We should let them do their job. What stands right now is the Supreme Court’s TRO on the cancellation of my certificate of candidacy, and this means that I remain a candidate. Without the lifting of the TRO, my name remains in the ballot,” she added.

Poe finds hope in Sereno’s opinion

Poe also found hope in Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s statement that the courts must protect the interest of foundlings.

Poe got a boost of confidence when the Chief Justice made the statement during oral arguments on her case last Tuesday at the SC.

“Chief Justice Sereno’s emphasis on that legal point shows a lot of compassion and justness for foundlings like me,” Poe said.

“It conveys the message that there are laws and jurisprudence that foundlings can rely on in pursuing their case, and this certainly buoys the argument raised by my lawyer during the oral argument,” she added.

It was argued that because Poe is a foundling whose biological parents’ identities are unknown, she could not be considered as a natural-born Filipino and thus cannot run for president.

The Comelec also found Poe as not being able to meet the residency requirements for presidential candidates because she resided in the United States before returning to the Philippines.

The camp of Poe cited both international and local laws to support her argument that foundlings should be considered as natural-born citizens.

Poe’s case would be a landmark case, considering that there is no jurisprudence regarding the status of foundlings in the country.

Sereno acknowledged this in her interpellation of Poe’s lawyer Alex Poblador, saying that the outcome of Poe’s case would affect other “silent” foundlings in the country.

ACIRC ALEX POBLADOR BUT POE CHIEF JUSTICE CHIEF JUSTICE MA CHIEF JUSTICE SERENO COMELEC FEB GRACE POE POE SUPREME COURT
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