SENATOR Francis “Chiz” Escudero has expressed hopes that the Supreme Court (SC) would have the same position it had on a disqualification case filed against then-presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ in 2004, this time on a similar case involving FPJ’s daughter, Sen. Grace Poe, an independent presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
Sen. Poe is facing three disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and one before the Senate Electoral Tribunal on grounds that she is not a natural-born citizen and that she lacks the 10-year residency requirement.
Part of the ruling of the High Court on the 2004 disqualification case against FPJ stated that the decision on who will be the next President of the country should be left to the sovereign Filipino people.
“We should not leave to the unelected members of this court the power and right to decide who the next President will be. That decision is best left to the sovereign Filipino people,” Escudero said, paraphrasing the opinion of the court on FPJ’s disqualification case.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple, in an earlier interview, said it would be better if the SC will not intervene in the disqualification cases against Sen. Poe and just let the people decide on whether the senator deserves the presidency.
According to Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, the disqualification cases are a political question and there is a higher body than the Supreme Court that will make the choice on Election Day and it is the sovereign Filipino people.
He said regardless of what will be the decision of the Comelec and the electoral tribunal on the petitions, it will be the SC that will have the final say as concerned parties are expected to bring the cases to the tribunal.
When asked if it is possible for the Supreme Court to come up with a similar position as it did on the case of FPJ, Escudero said it is since the 2004 decision is part of the precedent and the SC could use that ruling as a basis.
In an interview, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito also on Monday said it would also be better if the voters will be given a chance to vote for their chosen presidential candidates and not let those who want Sen. Poe out of the contest dictate on who people should vote for.
He noted that the right to vote is one of the most sacred rights of Filipinos and by disqualifying one person just because of technicality is in effect a denial of that right.
“Let us allow voters to choose and not let [any party]disqualify one person just for [this party]to win the elections,” Ejercito said.
He added that those behind the move to disqualify Sen. Poe from the race next year are the same people who supported her during the 2013 mid-term elections, which she topped.
Without mentioning names, Ejercito said when other presidential candidates were wooing Poe to be their running mate, they had no issues on her citizenship and residency.
Some were even saying the senator would be the best complement to the standard-bearer.
But when she turned down the offer and decided to seek the presidency, these aspirants for the country’s highest post began questioning her qualifications.