THE camp of independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe is optimistic that the Supreme Court will act swiftly and impartially on the two disqualification cases filed against her just as it quickly acted on her petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy (COC).
At the same time, Senator Francis Escudero, Poe’s vice-presidential running mate, said he is hoping that the SC justices will put to task the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for “bullying” Poe.
Lawyer George Garcia, Poe’s counsel, said the Supreme Court can rule as early as January after the oral arguments on the case of Poe, which are scheduled on January 19.
The high tribunal will be hearing oral arguments on Poe’s disqualification cases as well as on the petition to reverse the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). The SET, on a narrow vote of 5-4, earlier ruled that Poe was a natural-born Filipino and should not be disqualified as senator.
The Comelec en banc on December 23 upheld the decisions of the poll body’s First and Second Divisions cancelling Poe’s COC for president and gave the senator five days to seek a legal remedy from the SC.
Poe was unable to immediately go to the SC because the Comelec decision was released in the afternoon of December 23, when the court had already gone on a holiday break.
Despite the holiday recess, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno granted Poe’s request for relief on December 28, the last day of the five-day period given by the Comelec to Poe.
The two TROs issued by Sereno, which are effective until further notice from the Court, prevent the poll body from implementing its decision to cancel Poe’s COC and remove her name from the list of official candidates for the May 2016 elections.
Garcia said he hopes the SC would make a decision on Poe’s cases soon in order to put an end to the confusion surrounding the senator’s status.
Poe said she trusts the discernment of the justices of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter on all matters concerning law.
She also assured the public that she would respect and abide by the high court’s decision, whatever that may be.
Meanwhile, Escudero said certain actions of the Comelec, which led to its Dec. 23 decision barring Poe from the presidential race, “constitute grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”
Escudero lamented how the poll body acted with dispatch on Poe’s disqualification ahead of the obvious nuisance candidates like “Lucifer” and “Intergalactic ambassador.”
“If it’s not bullying or harassment, I don’t know what is,” said Escudero, referring to the way the Comelec handled Poe’s cases.
He noted that the Comelec worked ‘overtime’ in order for the en banc to disqualify her two days before Christmas and the holidays, giving her a difficult and very little time to seek redress in the SC.