Aquino confused over Poe eligibility

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself is getting confused over the eligibility of independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, whom he once aggressively pursued to be the Administration’s vice presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

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The point of “confusion” lies in Poe’s repeated use of her US passport even after she has supposedly renounced her US citizenship, Aquino said in an interview with the Philippine media in Italy.

Referring to the recent decision of the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Second Division disqualifying Poe from running on the grounds that she lacked the required length of residency in the Philippines, Aquino told reporters:

“Hindi ako SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal), hindi ako Comelec, pareho silang independent bodies. Hindi rin ako Supreme Court. Pero parang nakikita ko ‘yung logic ‘nung sinasabi rito, [I’m not the SET, I’m not the Comelec – both of which are independent bodies. I’m also not the Supreme Court. But I think I see the logic in what they say about this matter.”

"There’s clarity, and at the same time it leads to so many more questions. And siguro [perhaps], in a sense, this particular problem is not up to my decision, [n[not] to me to decide on,” he added.

The President said he has read the 35-page decision of the Comelec Second Division on Poe’s case three times while on a visit to Europe, but still was “not clear on some points.”

Another confusing point, he said, apart from Poe’s use of her American passport, is a document issued by then Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr., which refers to Poe as having been born to Filipino parents and, therefore, presumed to be a natural-born Philippine citizen.

However, Aquino said, given that Poe is a foundling and has not established the identity of her parents, he wonders how she plans to prove their nationality.

Reminded about his earlier attempt to convince Poe to be the running mate of the Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd, the President said he was not aware at that time of Poe’s repeated use of her US passport.

“At the time that we discussed this, it wasn’t as detailed as what is presented here. For instance, ‘yung mga trips ‘nung ‘09, I don’t think we discussed that. She kept telling me that she had a panel of lawyers who had studied the matter and they were ready to answer any and all questions and I took it at face value,” he said.

Aquino said as of now, he has sought a briefing from Justice Secretary Alfred Caguioa, Executive Secretary Paquito Ocha and other lawyers, about Poe’s eligibility.

Denies LP involvement in DQs
Meanwhile, Aquino denied that the LP was behind the disqualification cases against Poe, pointing out that the Administration had wanted her to join the ticket.

“Ipaalala ko lang, ang tagal naming nililigawan si Grace and, for that matter, Senator [F[Francis]scudero, to be part of the Administration ticket. Now, having said that, ‘di ba parang ipinapaalala sa atin ng mga kapartido natin ang unang naglabas nito spokesperson ng UNA [U[United Nationalist Alliance]si Toby Tiangco raw,” he pointed out.

“So, siyempre, kung ikaw ang nagkaroon ng unfavorable ruling, para bang saan kaya nagmula ito?” Aquino added.

Grace Poe in ballot
Pending the final ruling by the Supreme Court on the various protests against her candidacy, the name of Sen. Grace Poe as presidential candidate should be included in the ballot, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.

“Finally, all protests against the candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe will eventually go to the Supreme Court. Unless the high court rules swiftly, the Comelec has no other choice but to finalize the ballot. I urge the poll body to include her name in the ballot,” Brillantes told a forum on Saturday.

The Second Division of the Comelec has ruled 3-0, declaring Poe’s residential requirement defective. “Now, the case is elevated to the en banc. Regardless of the decision, the case is again appealable before the Supreme Court,” he said.

“The SC has to move fast, resolve the issue immediately before Dec. 15,” he added.
He said the election body should not wait for the final decision of the SC to decide whether to include Poe in the 2016 ballot.

Three cases against Poe are pending before the Comelec. The case at the Senate Election Tribunal has been decided in Poe’s favor, though the complainant, Rizalito David, said he plans to question the decision at the Supreme Court.

Poe’s lawyers said they will appeal the unfavorable case decided by the Comelec’s Second Division on Monday and hence, the case will go to the en banc.

More hurdles
Meanwhile, more hurdles are ahead for Poe. Lawyer Estrella Elamparo has filed a motion to exclude her name from the 2016 ballot. The motion is still pending.

Brillantes said the Comelec is now rushing the final list of candidates so that printing of the ballots could start. Officially, the election period starts on Jan. 10, 2016. On Feb. 9, the campaign period for President, vice president, senators, and partylists begins. For local government bets, March 25 is the start of the campaign.

“By Jan. 15, printing of the ballots will commence. So, that’s it. No more alterations. But of course, the configuration of printing plates should have been finalized weeks before then,” he said.

The Comelec’s Second Division ruled that Poe lacked the required 10-year residency rule for a candidate for President.

Poe, in her certificate of senatorial candidacy (CoC) in 2012, wrote that she had been in the country for six years and six months. The disparity appeared when just recently, in her CoC for President, she said she has been residing in the country for 10 years and 11 months instead of nine years and six months.

“When she returned in 2005, she did not renounce her US citizenship. In 2006, she finally applied for dual citizenship. If you do a count, she has been a resident for nine years only. But, she does not know how to count. It was an honest mistake. Committing a mistake is different from telling a lie. She did that in good faith. Was there a false representation in her CoC?” asked Brillantes rhetorically. He added that Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia, can ably handle the case.

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17 Comments

  1. Mr Brillantes if Mrs Llamnzares does not know how to count I do not want her to be the president of the Philippines ! And Mr Aquino just shut up!

  2. Rogelio Fernandez on

    Campaign period for President,Vice President,senators,party list starts February 09…..let me ask the COMELEC ,to those who already file their COC last October, Is there a penalty for those campaigning earlier than the prescribe given campaign period??

  3. The authors are clearly confusing the readers by attacking a person and not to deal with the issue of Poe. Where is the responsibility and accountability of a journalist? The topic should be Grace Poe’s issue in meeting the requirements to run for President. The requirements are simple and clear to anybody who’ll read it. COMELEC has a number of lawyers and whatever the decision they will reached should be respected by everyone. There should be no compromise on the part of COMELEC as to the requirements.

  4. Vic Penetrante on

    “Point of confusion” for PNoy is how to ensure the presidency of Roxas, whom a “nuisance can beat,” according to former Comelic Chief.

  5. Scented Candle on

    E kasi po as President of the Philippines marami po kayong kayang gawin…you can still manipulate the SC. Possible po kasi lahat katulad na lamang ng pagiging candidate niya as Senator noon, no one had done the investigation of her residency and citizenship, kung noon pa po iyan nasimulan e di hindi pa nagpatuloy sa pagka Presidente dahil sa lack of years in stay to comply the requirements to qualify.

  6. panggulo ka sa pilipinas mr aquino wala kang kawentakwentang pangulo panay di ako aware isolated case lang alam mo makukulong ka din pagkatapos mo dyan umupo sa truno mo .madami ka din ipapaliwanag na mga nawawalang pera ng bayan, PDAP,, mamasapano fund, yolanda fund …………………

  7. Now he says it’s up to these independent bodies of the government (SET, Comelec, SC). Before when the LP was in hot pursuit of her, he said it should be the people to decide. He is indeed confused. As for Grace Poe, too much too soon is not good.

    • After his inglorious stint as Comelec chief, Brillantes’ opinion carries no weight. In fact, whenever he says something, the country should go the opposite way.

  8. O come on Mr. Brillantes, how can you assume that Grace Poe does not know how to count and just made an honest mistake? This is not the first time she misrepresented herself. Back in 2005, she also purchased a property (in Philippines) in which she declared herself a Filipino, when in fact she was still an American citizen at that time. She has 2 birth certificates which are falsified and tampered. She has conflicting residency period on her COC’s for senator and president. Don’t we seen a pattern here?

    • I wish Mr. Brillantes will really show his brilliance as a lawyer. He had his time as Comelec Chairman. Now he is trying to make things muddy.
      Can you have an honest mistake by having two birth certificates falsified and tampered as stated above. I wonder all those Pro Llamanzares if they are really true believers in justice despite being a Supreme Court Chief Justice as well as an intellectual like Oscar Tan of PDI

  9. Anima A. Agrava on

    Another proof of: (1) the superficiality of BS Aquino’s and his LP cohort’s assessment of issues, (2) their mental dishonesty–there have been serious questions about Poe-Lamanzares’ qualifications even before they made her a public official in the Movie Board, (3) their greedy desperation to grabh power in 2016 and beyond by using Poe’s onscene and undeserved popularity.

  10. apolonio reyes on

    Ang Dapat itanong ni Pnoy ay bakit nakalampas si Grace Poe Llamanzares sa Malacanang Appointments Screening committee na pinamumunuan ni Sec. Ochoa na hindi Grace Poe Llamanzares ( GPL ) eligible sa dahilan na hindi sya Natural Born Pilipino? Bakit din nakalampas si GPL sa Comelec nuon 2013 Senatorial Election? Bakit nuon inayawan lang ni GPL maging vice president ni Binay pumiyak si Tobi Tiangco na kulang si residency at hindi Natural Born Pilipino si Grace Llamanzares Poe? Tinago ba ito ni Grace Poe Llamanzares sa kanila at sa publiko na hindi sya Natural Born Pilipino? Dapat gumawa ng imbestigation ang senado at gumawa ng batas para hindi na ito maulit gaya ng pagsubmit ng mga kandidato ng NBI at National Inteligence Board ng clearances na syang magsasabi kung qualificado ang isang kandidato at NATURAL BORN CITIZEN. DI BA BAYAN ?

  11. Leave PNoy alone because he is a confused individual. Since the very beginning, PNoy had been a confused person and until now he cannot understand what a President should be and should be not, what a President should do and what not to do. One is afraid he still does not understand what is really going on, listening only to his cabinet members and KKK’s.

    • Pnoy got too much smoke and nicotine in his brain therefore rendering him dazed and confused.

  12. Who is Grace Poe Llamanzares; what has she done to merit a ‘bending’ of the provisions of the Philippine Constitution, to permit her to remain in the Philippine Senate and to run for President in the coming elections? The provisions of the Constitution on qualifications to run for senate and for president are quite clear. Unless, of course, one would apply the ‘corrupt’ Philippine politics style.

    She may have won the No. 1 slot for senator, but this is because she availed of the popular name of her adoptive father whom she claims to have done a lot and she wants to continue what he has started.. Again. what has he done which, primarily, to provide heroic feats in the entertainment world, It’s too ambitious for her

    To qualify Ms. ‘Llamanzares Poe’ to run for president would be to undermine the strict requirements of the Philippine Constitution to favor one who, after all, is so naive to “protect and defend” this important fundamental law of the land, which is the ‘bastion’ of democracy,.

    May God bless the Philippines.