Did Bam save Grace?

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Sen. Grace Poe virtually rode an emotional roller-coaster on the day the Senate Electoral Tribunal convened on Tuesday to decide her fate.

Just as the nine-member tribunal were cloistered in a conference room at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City (Metro Manila), Poe’s voice cracked as she addressed the crowd that gathered to see her in the flesh in a public market in Calamba City (Laguna).

The previous day, she admitted to reporters that she was jittery and nervous on how events would turn out.

The electoral tribunal was deciding on the quo warranto petition of radio commentator Rizalito David, who assailed Poe’s qualification to sit in the Senate.


David claimed that Poe failed to meet the natural-born citizenship requirement mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

He argued that being foundling, the senator could not be considered a natural-born citizen.

Sources said Poe’s close advisers had made a headcount and the numbers did not look good. They reportedly expected the voting to go 5-4 against the 47-year-old senator, who is running for President in next year’s elections.

“[Senator] Nancy [Binay] was a giveaway. She’ll vote for her disqualification. Justice [Antonio] Carpio had telegraphed his views on the case and the two other justices [Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion] were expected to go with him. And then there was Bam [Aquino], the cousin of the President [Benigno Aquino 3rd] and a member of the Liberal Party,” a source of The Manila Times said. “The other members of the [electoral tribunal]are her fellow senators. They won’t let her down.”

A few hours later, Poe’s mood shifted. She reportedly even jumped for joy after she was informed that the verdict was out–it’s 5-4 as expected–but in her favor.

Speculations were rife that it was Aquino’s vote that the tide for Poe.

Bam Aquino 4th — son of Paul Aquino, the youngest brother of the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. — voted to dismiss David’s petition together with Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

Liberal Party [LP] spokesman Romero Quimbo was quick in saying that the turn of events is proof that the administration party had nothing to do with the disqualification cases filed against Poe, who leads all pre-election surveys for President and Vice President.

“The [tribunal’s] decision erases all doubts about the credibility of the different processes that her candidacy is facing. It likewise clearly establishes that the Liberal Party is not part of any conspiracy to have her disqualified, as some have been spreading. The lone LP member of the [tribunal], Sen Bam Aquino, voted in her favor,” Quimbo said.

“Observe the voting. It was Senator Bam’s vote that became decisive in her favor,” he added.

Aquino 4th on Wednesday maintained that the LP never tried to influence him in making a decision on Poe’s case.

“In fairness to the party, they did not try to influence me. They gave me the space to make a very important decision,” he said.

When asked if he had difficulties coming up with the decision considering that disqualifying Poe would somehow benefit LP standard- bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd, Aquino replied that he adheres to the principle of “daang matuwid” (straight path), which is to do what is right and fair.

Aquino 4th said Poe’s case would not only affect her but also thousands of foundlings in the country.

“Foundlings currently and in the future will not have the same rights as natural-born citizens if I sided with the view that foundlings are not natural-born citizens,” he explained, saying he voted against Poe’s disqualification for the sake of the foundlings.

“Hindi ko makuhang bumoto sa isang desisyon na makakaperwisyo sa mga abandonadong mga bata [I cannot allow myself to vote on a decision that could bring harm to abandoned children],” Aquino 4th said.

The tribunal’s ruling is appealable within 10 days.

David said he would elevate the case to the Supreme Court.

His lawyer, Manuelito Luna, said they will formally appeal the ruling on Monday.

The case before the electoral tribunal is separate from the five disqualification cases filed against Poe with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Petitioners in the Comelec cases questioned Poe’s citizenship and residency indicated in the certificate of candidacy for President.

Yacap party-list Rep. Carol Lopez warned Poe that the fight is far from over.

“[The tribunal] is not the final arbiter. The Supreme Court is the one to define the letters of the law on this issue,” Lopez pointed out.

David’s counsel Luna said the dissenting opinion of the three justice-members of the tribunal will have a “big impact” on the pending Comelec cases.

He added that they are expecting the Comelec to resolve the cases late this month or not later than the second week of December.

Poe’s cases were submitted for resolution last November 13.

Under the Comelec’s rules of procedure, the commissioners must resolve the case within 15 to 30 days.

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16 Comments

  1. There is a very big possibility that S. Poe will lose. I really want to see a4 way fight Poe Binay, Roxas and Defensor”. Let the battle begin. Let us not be a sour loser by disqualifying Poe. This will show that Pulse Asia and the rest are fake. Look what happen to Villar, he was the front runner and he came in third. I am only happy that Abad, and the rest of the cabinet members will be out . They are the source of the problem.

  2. Grace & Alan Peter 2016 is the BEST tandem next year :-) as simple as that….still the BEST choice!

  3. Too shallow to reason out, foundling…they let Poe to become Senator and now still the issue of citizenship and residency. Well no matter what they say, Grace is still the choice of the majority, the voters will VOTE her, she is not affected with that case against her.

    David is just insinuated for the result of election the time she won in the senatorial list. If you try to campaign each candidates, Poe is the most easiest to handle in the campaign among them all….unlike Mar. They are uncertain to do voting, they prefer the boycott than to vote him so instead of boycott let’s try to substitute Grace though no choice, we need Grace Llamanzarez in the Presidency. Grace and Allan is the best tandem :-)

  4. It so obvious this Rizalito David is so jealous, that he cannot accept his defeat.
    What can he gain in destroying a person? He himself may not be a Filipino with his look, maybe he should ask his mother who really his father.

    Nancy Binay got all kind of excuse.

    • But David is NOT gunning for any elected position when he filed the complaint against Poe. He has all the right to question the qualification of somebody who is presenting herself as one who has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to have ran for the Senate in 2013 and continue to sit as a Senator. David doubted that this is NOT so, so he questioned her qualification. This is within his rights as a Filipino even if say he is not a natural born Filipino.

  5. The outcome of the SET’s voting was a foregone conclusion even at the start of the oral arguments. It was very clear that the senators did not understand the rule of law. So, they voted out of sympathy for foundlings. It is ironic that the legislators had to decide the constitutional issue of natural-born Filipino citizenship. The voting was done politically and it is a clear case of grave abuse of discretion. I wonder why did the SET have to wait for the results of the DNA test when it was made clear that it has nothing to do with the senators voting along party lines. This will not happen in the SC, the final arbiter. In the SC, there are no legislators nor politicians but only members of the judiciary, whose primary function is the interpretation of the law. The rule of the law must prevail, not the rule of the mob.

    • Wow you made a lot of conclusions that really bothers me. Are you a lawyer? Do you not feel any remorse on the inside of you? Do you think that the supreme court does not have any biases? They are all humans not robots and are not prisoners of the letter of the law.

    • ramon tolentino on

      These senators knew from the start that Grace Poe lied about her citizenship but still accepted her induction as a senator. You can make your own conclusion about the integrity of our lawmakers.

  6. Indeed, Senator Bam Aquino saved Mrs. Grace Llamanzares. And what a shame!
    I thought that as a new and young senator, he would have enough moral integrity to be “above suspicion”. He turned out to be just another “trapo”. Apprised of the facts and the applicable law, any reasonable man or third party who has no preconceived notion about this case could only have voted to disqualify.

    Bam has just revealed himself to be as politically motivated as the usual suspects. Although disappointing, I suppose his vote should really not have caught anyone by surprise in view of his cousin PNOY’s preference for Mrs. Llamazares as Mar Roxas VP candidate. Rep. Leni Robredo, for whom Bam would be serving as campaign manager, should be watchful of this guy. His protestation of “daang matuwid” is just for show and PR.

    Thank goodness, all the three associate SC justices turned out to be adherents of the Philippine Constitution rather than of the 1930 Hague Convention. Imagine, Bam, actually believes that this Convention has primacy or is higher than the Philippine Constitution. Unbelievable. As they say, “tell it to the marines”

    As for Senator Nancy Binay, kudos to her for her vote. Her vote may be politically motivated, but at least it is in accordance with the Constitution.

  7. The five senators saved Senator Grace and the rights of foundling to serve in the government or any other post that requires NBS. It was the right thing to do. Why should foundlings need to prove their parentage? they were left behind, and now they are expected to look for their relatives in a country of 100m people? that logic is really wrong and unfair for foundlings.

  8. My family and I will never vote for those senators who voted in favor of llamanzares. They are not law makers but Law breakers. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. Typical tayo tayo system. But it’s not over until the fat lady sings. The law is the law and no should go against it. I can’t imagine a perjurer and a swell headed woman taking an oath over a constitution.

  9. Well it is too obvious that Binay voted to disqualify Llamanzres because of her father’s candidacy. Nancy Binay actually cannot even express himself as to why and how she voted against Poe. Nancy Binay should go back to her original job as admin assistant of her father.

  10. I still bet that Grace Poe will definetely lose her cases. It is just prolonging the agony but in the end Justice will prevail and Grace will be disqualified.

  11. Separate cases of PERJURY and FALCIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS should also be filed now against Grace Poe as evidenced by the documents she submitted. Why should we let go of these kinds of politicians? They should lead by example but what are they doing? Shall we just tolerate these kind of people who are aspiring for the highest position of the Republic? Civilized countries do not allow these things to happen. Why in the Philippines they can do what they like be it lawful or illegal?

  12. Intellectuals always say that:”THE LAW MAYBE HARSH AND WE SHOULD FOLLOW IT”. Some also say :” CRIME DOES NOT PAY”. So let us wait for the final decision of the Law Arbiter which is the Supreme Court. Let it be its decision we must abide by. We know the real situation of the DQ case of Grace Poe and we should not be disappointed with the decision of “FAKE JUDGES” who do not understand the laws but instead circumvent them. Then finally the culprit will suffer the consequences of her/his wrongdoings.

  13. Interesting article that offers much insight into a ‘flawed’ process. Where were/are the system of safeguards that would have protected Grace Poe against those who had prejudice against her?

    Carpio had gone on record months ago, publicly. Binay should have been an automatic recusal also. Her father is running against the frontrunner Poe.

    I like millions of others am thankful that Bam was the unbiased voice of reason here.

    Sadly, even though winning. Grace and her supporters know there is still much work to be done. There are many bitter people who would/will seek to deny the peoples #1 ranked candidate the opportunity she ‘deserves’. As we have seen the playing field is not even level.