MALACAÑANG on Tuesday distanced itself from a disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe, saying it is unfair to politicize a quasi-judicial proceedings.
“It is not justifiable to add political color [to]the proceedings without showing concrete proof because this would just lead to irresponsible speculation,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in Filipino.
Coloma made the comment after 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello 3rd’s call for Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to inhibit from the disqualification petition against Poe.
Bello, a former Justice secretary, said Carpio was unfit to decide on the case because of his ties to former Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz Jr. Cruz, who is reportedly the counsel of presumptive Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd, was Carpio’s law office partner.
Carpio heads the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which is hearing Poe’s disqualification case.
Radio commentator Rizalito David has asked the electoral tribunal to unseat Poe for her alleged failure to meet the citizenship requirement for senatorial candidates under the 1987 Constitution.
Poe, a former vice-presidential prospect of the LP, has declared her intention to run for President as an independent candidate in next year’s elections.
“The [Senate Electoral Tribunal] is composed of magistrates from the Supreme Court and elected senators… It is best that we let them go through the process because it will not be just to comment on issues that we have no complete knowledge about and cast politics on them in the absence of concrete proof,” Coloma said.
During interpellation in Monday’s oral arguments on the case, Carpio said Poe is a naturalized Filipino citizen, not natural-born under international customary laws.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero is confident that Poe would not be disqualified from next year’s presidential race.
“I don’t see that happening quite frankly,” Escudero said in a media forum on Tuesday.
He will be Poe’s running mate in next year’s elections.
When asked if he would consider substituting for Poe in case she gets written off, Escudero, a lawyer, said, “I don’t see that happening and that’s not legally possible too because once you’ve filed [your certificate of candidacy], you cannot file for any other position or substitute for any other position in accordance with law, in accordance with the Election Code.”
“I’m confident that she will not be disqualified, that she will be allowed to run and at the end of the day the people will decide on this issue,” he added.
Escudero, a former member of the electoral tribunal, said he disagrees with Carpio’s view on Poe’s citizenship.
“Justice Carpio was quoted as having said [that Sen. Poe is a naturalized Filipino]. I disagree. [There are only two kinds of Filipinos under the Constitution], naturalized and natural-born. [To become a] naturalized citizen, [there are only two ways], by a court decree or by an act of Congress,” he explained.
Escudero also disagreed with the opinion that Poe should first identify her biological parents to find out her citizenship.
“Again, I disagree, [if Senator Poe knew who her parents were, she cannot be called a foundling anymore but an abandoned child],” he said.
The senator pointed out that under the Constitution, natural-born Filipinos are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect Filipino citizenship.
“May ginawa po ba si Senator Poe para ma-issue-han siya ng Philippine passport noong siya ay bata at pinanganak [Did Sen. Poe do anything for her to be issued a Philippine passport when she was born]? Wala po [None]. Hindi naman po siya dumaan sa korte para idekalarang Pilipino siya [She did not go to the courts for her to be declared a Filipino]. Wala din namang Act of Congress or Republic Act na nagsasabing Pilipino siya [Thre was no Act of Congress or Republic Act saying she is Filipino],so therefore she’s a Filipino, and a natural-born at that,” Escudero said.