The camp of Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday said the Supreme Court (SC) should be given “space” to decide on a disqualification case filed against the independent presidential candidate as it assailed moves to preempt the decision by reporting leakages on the alleged ruling of the High Court.
Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesman, called for restraint over a report by The Manila Times that the ponente of the case, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, voted to disqualify Poe because she did not meet the constitutional requirement that a presidential candidate should have resided in the Philippines for 10 years before an election.
“We are calling on all parties and individuals involved to refrain from preempting the decision of the SC. We should give the members of the SC space to be able to compose their respective decisions without the glare of speculations,” Gatchalian said.
Poe, a foundling found in Jaro Church in Iloilo in 1968, married Neil Llamanzares in 1991.
She stayed in the United States until her adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr., died in December 2004.
“The processes and procedures of the SC are in place. We allow these to take place. All of us should respect our institutions and help strengthen our democracy by not jumping into conclusions based on speculations,” Gatchalian said.
Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, admitted being surprised by the supposed draft ruling.
“As far as I know, the SC has not yet decided on the case and if ever a decision will be made the earliest possible date could be next week,” Escudero told reporters.
When asked if he thinks the report is part of an attempt to condition the minds of the voters, Escudero said it is possible that it is the handiwork of their political rivals in an attempt to counter the decision of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) to adopt the Poe-Escudero tandem.
“More than mind conditioning, it is likely that her [Poe] rivals just want to downplay the endorsement of NPC which was announced by the party yesterday [Monday],” he added.
Like everyone else, Poe said, she would like to know the decision of the SC as soon as possible to put an end to all speculations.
“We are confident that the SC will rule in favor of us. More or less we are aware of the position of some justices. We also believe that we are among the first to know if there is a decision already,” she added.
In the February surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations, Poe ranked first (30 percent) and second (24 percent), respectively.
Malacañang also called on the public to wait for the final ruling of the SC on the disqualification case against Poe.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also on Tuesday said the Palace will leave Poe’s case to the High Court.
“Out of respect for the Supreme Court’s independence, we prefer to await its decision on Senator Poe’s qualifications and will therefore refrain from commenting on its deliberations and decision-making processes,” Coloma told reporters in a text message.