SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Monday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately act on disqualification cases filed against presidential aspirants Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor R n said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista should convene the en banc and decide on pending petitions against Poe and Duterte.
The senator and the mayor are the two leading presidential contenders based on results of several surveys conducted by private polling firms.
“To ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections next year, I am calling on Chairman Andres Bautista and members of the Commission on Elections to rule at the soonest on the petitions against Poe and Duterte on the basis of the merits presented by the parties involved,” Drilon, also the vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party, said in a statement.
The Senate President noted that early resolution of the petitions against Poe and Duterte will give the Supreme Court enough time to review and decide on the disqualification cases.
Poe already filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc after the poll body’s First and Second Divisions granted petitions seeking to cancel her certificate of candidacy (COC) for President.
Senator Francis Escudero said there were no new arguments presented in the motion for reconsideration and they only answered all arguments presented in the First and Second Divisions.
He added that while they do not expect to get a favorable decision from the Comelec en banc, they still filed the motion in accordance with rules of the procedures of the poll body and the Supreme Court (SC).
“We have to follow the procedures, that is why we filed the motion. We don’t want to be accused of prematurely bringing the case before the SC,” Escudero said.
Duterte has a pending disqualification case filed by Ruben Castor before the First Division, with the petitioner claiming that the mayor was not a qualified substitute for PDP-Laban standard-bearer Martin Diño as they did not belong to the same political party.
But the mayor, in an interview earlier, said he is ready to accept whatever will be the decision of the Comelec on his disqualification case.
“That’s no big deal. I do not die today if I don’t become President,” Duterte added.
Drilon, however, noted that whatever the Comelec’s decision may be, both parties will bring the cases before the High Court, the final arbiter on the matter.
“It cannot be left hanging. The earlier the poll body can decide, the better it will be for the country,” he said.
Poe hoping Rody not be disqualified
Poe also on Monday said she does not want her potential fierce rival, Duterte, to get disqualified from running for President.
Speaking to reporters after marking the 11th death anniversary of her father Fernando Poe Jr., the senator added that she has been praying that mayor be allowed to run.
“I’ve been praying that he’ll not get disqualified and that he be given the chance to run. That’s what we’ve been fighting or, win or lose. I’m not praying for myself. I’ve seen how my father experienced this,” Poe said in Filipino.