• Grace Poe’s brazen demands of the Supreme Court


    First of two parts

    Because of its transcendent importance to our democratic politics and constitutional system, I will close 2015 and open 2016 with a two-part series on the disqualification cases of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, and the demands that she has made of the Supreme Court as it prepares to tackle the issue of her disqualification, from either sitting in the Senate or running for president in the May 2016 election.

    Poe has made two specific demands of the high court, namely:

    1. First, she has demanded that three justice-members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, who ruled that she is not a natural-born citizen, should recuse themselves (she prefers to use the word “inhibit”) from the hearing of her cases in the high court.

    2. Second, through a half-page advertisement placed in one newspaper, she urged the justices of the Supreme Court to disobey the Constitution and disregard its eligibility requiremenrt for citizens seeking the presidency.

    It’s recusal. Not inhibition
    For sheer immodesty and effrontery, these demands are without precedence in the annals of the high court.

    For the information of Senator Poe, her lawyers and her spokesman, the correct term to use for what they are seeking is not “inhibition” but “recusal.” A medicine can inhibit a bodily function or organ. Supreme Court justices and judges recuse themselves in the hearing of a case. The fatal flaw in Ms Poe’s latest tactic to save her candidacy is not only terminological; it is mental and intellectual.

    Absurdly and insanely, in their desperate effort to avert Ms. Poe’s disqualification by the SC, Ms Poe and her lawyers are now demanding the disqualification of three justice members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, whose learned and incisive opinions built a veritable foundation for the nullification of her candidacy. The justices are: Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita de Castro, and Arturo Brion.

    Even more absurd and mindless is her second demand that urges the justices of the Supreme Court to disobey the Constitution when they render their verdict on her case. The demand was made by an organization called the ALL4GP Movement in a half-page newspaper advertisement. It shied from going into legal arguments, which should be raised before the Supreme Court, and not in an advertisement.

    Rearguard action to protect her behind
    What they are doing is rearguard action to protect her behind, and aggrandize as much campaign funds as they can.

    Ms. Poe is now engaged, willy-nilly, in destroying our democratic politics in order to secure her right to run for president. She is like a political pinball that is trying to do as much damage to the 2016 election as it can.

    In her delusional state, she probably imagines that her action is an honorable contribution to our democracy or a sterling assertion of a civil right.

    In fact, there is nothing honorable about what she is doing. There is, as I discussed in an earlier column, no constitutionally protected right to run for public office; neither is there a duty.

    Ms Poe‘s persistence in imposing herself on the 2016 election, has become all about pocketing the financial contributions and sustaining the flow of contributions to her campaign.

    It is not about fighting for the rights of foundlings, as she once pompously declared.

    It’s not about winning the presidency anymore, because everyone in her campaign – including the candidate — now knows the window of victory has irretrievably passed.

    She is more properly regarded now as an outlier in Philippine democracy.

    Sitting as a judge in the court of public opinion, I urge the outright dismissal of Ms. Poe’s demands on the grounds of common sense and economy.

    To constitute the high court, we take painstaking care to find the best and brightest minds within our legal community, both bar and bench – and we appropriate a big sum of public money to pay for the justices’ salaries, allowances and perks and privileges, in order to get the best from them.

    In these disqualification cases facing Ms. Poe, why should we take away three legal luminaries, who have already spent time studying the facts and intricacies of her case? Why deprive ourselves of their judgment and counsel?

    Why on earth should anyone suggest that the members of the Supreme Court, whose sworn duty is to uphold the Constitution, disobey the charter, in order to gratify the wishes of a foundling?

    To gratify her wish would be legislation by abdication of duty, because the moment the SC says that Ms. Poe is a natural-born citizen by virtue of her being a foundling, it would in effect be passing a law, and even amending the Constitution. A clear violation of separation of powers.

    Recusal and the Supreme Court
    That said, there is a serious argument to address in the proposed recusal of certain justices. There are issues to consider pro and contra.

    With the help of a legal researcher and political scientists, I have secured a topnotch research paper entitled “Recusal and the Supreme Court.” It discusses the practice and standards of recusal in the US. It is relevant to our experience, because our jurisprudence closely tracks US jurisprudence also. (I will discuss the paper at length in part 2 of this series.)

    To conclude, I think it is the height of insolence and insanity that in a primordial battle over consitutional principles, it is our honorable justices of the Supreme Court, our primary guardians of the Constitution, who are being asked to voluntarily disqualify themselves, rather than Senator Poe, the political pin ball who created this conundrum by daring to file her candidacy for president, while lacking the eligibilities prescribed by the Constitution.

    Ms. Poe’s lawyers’ chief service to her cause is to keep on finding straws to keep her candidacy afloat. Judicial recusal and judicial disobedience are their last straws.

    Watch how they will all be blown away by the Supreme Court, along with Senator Poe.



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    1. Grace Poe is just a yagit floating and getting carried by the flow…she is just one of those individual who happened to at any circumstances be around to be used by the people who wanted to infiltrate the already bulok system that they can’t tap at…the bulok system has horns….and the system using Grace Poe has buntot….that is the kalakaran in the Philippines!

    2. My home country is turning like what happened to her strongest ally. Barack Hussein Obama is never proven that he is a natural born United States citizen (required to be a presidential candidate). His purported birth certificate in Hawaii has numerous undeniable discrepancies and never been properly authenticated. The Philippine Supreme Court should and must be respected as independent institution and let the chips fall where it suppose to. My heart will forever bleed if it does not but then this just my “Two Cents”.

    3. Dis Grace will be disqualified, I had faith on our SC that they will decide base on our Constitution.

    4. Naku, hindi naman talaga makakatakbo yan sa pagka Pangulo… sa SET palang tatlong Hon. Justices na bomoto para ma disqualified siya… paano nalang kaya sa SC. Sorry po batas lang po sinusunod ko.

    5. To Madam Grace Poe:
      “TAMA NA, TIGIL NA!!! Sa pagsusumikap mong maqualify sa 2016 Presidential bid. Huwag mo nang paniwalaan ang mga “advices” ng mga kabandera mo sa partido ninyo na para bagang may mga “ulterior motives” sila.
      Besides are you and they sure na mananalo ka talaga? If you are aware, iba na ang political trend ngayon. Iba na ang “mind set” ng mga botante ngayon dna tulad noon. Nag iisip na sila.

    6. Grace Poe has gone to the extreme measure of exhuming long-dead people for possible blood relationship. If her purpose is to find her biological parents out of filial love, why didn’t she do it in all the years before? It is clear that her motive now is for the sole purpose of advancing her candidacy.

      Perhaps, it would be less burdensome if she confined her search to living people from which to get DNA samples to prove her assertion that she is qualified to run as president of our country. The dead should be respected; they should not be involved in such purely mundane and personal enterprises such as this political campaign.

    7. Ram Campagnolo on

      The Constitution is the supreme rule of law of the land. Why should the SC Justices will bend their decisions to favor Grace P. Llamanzares if they very first to protect it?

    8. Ang tanong ko lamang kay Mrs Grace Poe Llamanzares ay ito: Una, in all honesty…naisipan mo ba na hanapin ang iyong biological parents, siblings, etc., noong ikaw ay hindi pa sikat na GRACE POE na ngayon ay tumatakbo para presidente ng Pilipinas? Hindi ka ba nahihiya na nakakarating kung saan saang panig ng Western Visayas para lamang matunton ang lahi ng inaakalang mo na mga biological relatives? NAISIPAN MO BA SILA NA TUNTUNIN NOON? Kung totoong may malasakit ka, nananabik, isang nagmamahal na anak sa nawalay/nawawalang mga magulang… BAKIT NGAYON LANG? At bakit hindi mo ginagamit ang LLAMANZARES na family name iyong kanyang asawa? Ay naku, ang dami dapat itanong at dapat mo sagutin Mrs Llamanzares. Actually, hindi ako concern sa mga kaso sa SC at ang isyu ng pagiging ampon mo…NAKAKATAKOT ANG INUUSANSIYA MO, SA TOTOO LANG.

      • Bodies exhumed
        GMA News on Tuesday reported that Poe’s camp had the remains of her alleged biological parents exhumed from the East Valencia Public Cemetery in Buenavista town in Guimaras for DNA testing.
        A lawyer and a forensic pathologist were overseeing the process, the GMA News report said.
        “First to be exhumed were the remains of Victoria Rodriguez, who is believed to be Poe’s biological mother.
        A bone fragment from her thigh was extracted for DNA testing,” the report said.
        “Also exhumed were the bodies of Francisco Montañez and his son Paquito to determine the paternal line of the senator. It is believed that either Francisco or Paquito was the real father of Poe, thus DNA samples needed to be extracted from both their remains,” the report added.
        DNA samples from Rodriguez’s surviving siblings were also taken.
        The DNA testing will be done in Manila, the report said.
        Poe’s spokesman, however, clarified that it was the Rodriguez family that offered to have Victoria’s remains exhumed.
        Valenzuela City(Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the senator’s spokesman, said it was Poe’s lawyers who spoke to the Rodiguez family.
        He added that Poe was in fact saddened after learning about the exhumation.
        “The Rodriguez family offered this option because they also wanted to know the truth once and for all,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
        While he admitted that Poe personally met the Rodriguez family during her last visit to Iloilo, she was not involved in arranging the DNA testing.
        Gatchalian said that while the families expressed their willingness to help Poe in her search, they are also asking media to respect their privacy and not to air or show footage of the exhumation process.

        Sadyang nakakakilabot itong proseso na pinaggagawa ng kampo ni Sen Poe…at para lamang “mapatunayan” na siya ay may “pinagmulan”, pati mga bangkay na malaon nang nakalibing ay ipinahuhukay, upang magamit na ebidensiya sa SC. Bakit hindi kumikibo ang simbahan Katoliko sa aksiyong pampulitika na ito ng kampo ni Sen Poe? Nang minura diumano ni Mayor Duterte ang Santo Papa, nag-unahan ang mga Obispo at Faithfuls sa pagkondena sa pagmumura ni Duterte. Hindi po ba maliwanag na DESECRATION ang hukayin ang bangkay para sa political agenda?

    9. You have the right to write and you are very good at it. You even have the temerity to to posture, in fact – say – you are always right and everyone else is wrong. And this is fine, until a deeper glance tells us, you are truly very airy and arrogant! Can’t you just wait for the verdict of the SC on the matter? If you are sure that the SC will decide against Poe, you do not need three more justices. Besides, they have said what they think. In fact, as if you are better than them – you are trying to expand though very immaturely what they have already said and are now known. Stop trying to be lawyerly when what are coming out of your mind thru your pen are all garbage. The justices do not need them, you, neither the public. It has become too obvious that you are for Binay and against Poe. Write somethingelse, ok.

    10. @Julian Tulay. No the Arnado case does not apply. Arnado used his US passport after he renounced under RA 9225 upon filing of his COC for mayor. Grace never used her US passport after her renouncement in 20 Oct 2010 before assuming office at MTRCB. The expired passport itself bears no stamp to prove this fact.

    11. This early (“hindi pa man”) ma’am Grace is already showing shades of becoming a dictator if ever she becomes chief executive of this country.

    12. As far as I can see it, her lawyers and her advisers are the ones who are aggressively pursuing the case up to the highest level of our court – the Supreme Court for only one very obvious reason – collecting more perks of course not from Poe’s own account but definitely from her rich multi-millionaire financiers.

    13. Pansin ko lang iisa ang basehan natin ng batas, ang konstitusyon pero iba iba pa rin ang paniniwala at interpretasyon kahit na mga magagaling na abogado dahil may mga pabor at hindi pabor kay Poe at ang pinaglalaban ng mga abogadong ito ay ang kanilang paniniwala ayon sa kanilang pagkakaintindi. Ang hindi ko lang maintindihan kung bakit yung mga pabor kay Poe ay inaakusahang binayaran o hindi kaya ay pinangakuan ng magandang pwesto kung sakaling manalo? Sa history walang ninakaw at linoko si Poe sa ating bayan kaya huwag po sana kayong mag akusa huwag kayong magmalinis. Ang usaping ito ay nasa SC na kaya huwag na kayong magmamagaling dahil hindi naman bobo mga justices kaya maghintay na lang tayo. Pati mga writers tama opinion niyo lang yan at may laya kayong isulat mga nasa sa loob niyo pero bias naman kayo magbigay ng opinyon. I respect your opinion Mr. Macabenta at mga readers not in favor sa candidacy ni Poe pero sana naman maging fair naman kayo sa pagcomment at respeto niyo mga taong gustong maging Pangulo si Poe.

    14. rene catalasan on

      I totally agree and conform with the columnist description of disGrace Llamanzares and that of her camp’s unlogical reasoning and disrespect against our Constitution and laws.

    15. Leodegardo Pruna on

      Personally, Poe has disgraced herself and inflicted a mortal wound to herself by continuing to believe that she is the best candidate there is for president. From her actuation, she would be the worse next to P-Noy if ever which I hope and pray for not to be. Our country will be a laughing stock of others because we shall be adjudged a lawless nation for not following and protecting the basic law of the land, the Philippine Constitution. The institutions where disgraced GRACE had her schooling failed to educate her properly on the matters of morals and values. Let us hope that TRUTH and JUSTICE prevail. God bless the Philippines.

    16. Claro Apolinar on

      No one except Mr. Tatad is bold enough among you Times columnists to mention that Grace Poe’s *balls” — which Adaza crudely loves to use — come from probably the second most powerful moneyed persons in the Philippine oligarchy–the owners of San Miguel.
      Why don’t you dwell on that???!!!

      • Hijo, you should ask Frank who is the real owner of SMC. It was Frank together with Raul while young lawyers of ACCRA crafted the sale document.

    17. If you ask an elementary school graduate, she/he will tell you that it is unconstitutional for any member of the Judiciary to be member of a body or tribunal. However, the SET is one of the exceptions specifically tasked by the Constitution as the SOLE and EXCLUSIVE tribunal to determine the qualifications of Senators-elect (not candidates). Of the nine members, 3 SC Justices are included and its the reason why the SET decision should not be subject to review by the SC.
      But if for some reasons, the SC will ‘review’ the SET decision, equal protection and due process requires that the 3 SC Justices who voted against Poe should ‘recuse’ or inhibit themselves not only because it is legally unethical and against the rules of professional responsibility for Justices to “review their own decision” on appeal but also because the 5 Senators who voted in favor of Poe cannot sit as “SC Justices” that will review the assailed SET decision.

      • Sam, the senators have admitted that their decision is political, meaning, not based on what the constitution says. That admitted, should be reviewed by the SC. And for me to believe you, should question the flagrant violation of their oath to their office of the 5 senators.

      • May I ask a question? But it’s the COMELEC decision that is brought to the SC and not the SET. Do they still need to “inhibit” in the COMELEC case?

      • Llamanzarres is asking the supreme court to stop the comelec in disqualifying her ….she already won in set.

      • Well unluckily for Ms Poe, the SC will not review the SET ruling but the COMELEC ruling. NO NEED FOR RECUSAL for the justices. haha.

      • Unfortunately for Poe, the SC is not deliberating on the SET ruling but on the COMELEC ruling, therefore there is no review of the three justices’ own decisions. Haha, wrong argument.

      • With due respect, is there a provision of the constitution that says the SC has the authority to review any SET decision? if there is any, there’s a constitutional crisis because like you said “the Constitution as the SOLE and EXCLUSIVE tribunal to determine the qualifications of Senators-elect (not candidates)”.

      • @Rey The Constitution provides that the Supreme Court is vested with judicial power. That includes the duty to determine whether or not any branch or instrumentality of the government (e.g. SET, COMELEC) gravely abused its discretion. If the SC finds that the SET or COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it rendered its decision, then the SC has the power to nullify the decision, even though the SET or COMELEC are the “sole judge[s]” of election contests. This power if the Supreme Court has been recognized as early as the 1930s in the landmark case of Angara vs Electoral Commission under the 1935 Constitution. It was again confirmed in Lazatin vs HRET and Lerias vs HRET, both decided under the present constitution. By now there should be no dispute that the Supreme Court has the power to review the decisions of the SET and the COMELEC.

      • Pardon, but my understanding is that they are going to review two different cases decided by the Comelec one of which is the NBFC and the residence issue, the latter of which has not been decided by the 3 members of the SC. Poe’s lawyers want the complaints integrated so that when a final decision comes it will be applicable to both complaints. ‘ika nga hitting 2 birds with one stone. In my opinion, the 3 judges can still sit as judges in Poe’s case dahil hindi na naman tungkol sa SET ang didisisyunan nila kundi dahil sa desisyon ng Comelec na ngayon.

    18. The ‘handlers’ of Ms. Poe, including her U.S. trained lawyer Veep, must have promised her the ‘rose garden’ when it comes to her candidacy for president that she is now expecting for it, to the extent of getting the SC rule in her favor, to the detriment of the august body, which as the last bastion of freedom and democracy. In other words, the strict requirements of the Constitution are just “trivial” to her.

      Personally, I am glad to have the privilege of voting agaain in Philippine elections. But, to my great frustration, in case Ms. Poe gets what she wants, I might think twice if “ever” I vote again in a Philippine election. However, I have more solid faith in the intelligence and wisdom of the judges of all judges of the SC which is the last bastion of freedom and democracy in the country..

      The determination o f Ms. Poe’s qualification as a senator and as a candidate for president will be the ‘crux’ of my remaining faith in the electoral processes in the country. I just hope that I’m just one of the ‘faint’ voices in the wilderness regarding all these absurd and irresponsible ambitions of one like Ms. Poe.

      May God bless the Philippines; may God bless the Filipino people!

    19. I googled Mayor Arnado vs. Supreme Court dated September 15 to 19 on 2015 in every Philippines newspaper. Supreme Court disqualified him as a mayor of a town in Lanao del Norte because he continuously using his US passport traveling even though he renounced his American citizenship and re-acquired his filipino citizenship. Did Grace Poe did the same thing, she continuously used her foreign passport several times even though she claimed that Philippines was her domicile since 2005. What is the difference between two cases, and even Chief Justice Sereno was among the justices who voted to disqualify him.

      • 3rdworldsavage on

        Really? Are you sure? Can you Google the US State Department on it’s regulations on dual citizenship and/or renouncing US citizenship? A US citizen renouncing citizenship the passport is physically confiscated or surrendered and the petitioner is left with the passport of his new country. You can Google Philippines dual citizenship requirements.

    20. At all times a lawyer can petition the recusal od a Judge during a trial.
      So mrs Poe can do so during the hearing of her petition at the Supreme Court.
      There is no law which prohibits that!!
      As I lawyer I have petitioned the recusal of judges during court sessions!!


      The demand of Llamanzares to the Supreme Court is synonym to a command. And to think that the SC is a branch of the government that is independent from the office of the president, where did this Llamanzares, a candidate, get the nerve of making a demand? What will be the level of the Supreme Court should and if Llamanzares become a president?

      From this early stage, a candidate of Llamanzares’ type should be excluded.

      (In case you don’t know who this Llamanzares is, this is the person who introduces herself as Grace Poe. The reason why she uses Poe as her last name, it is because Llamanzares is not known. She has to borrow a name otherwise she becomes nobody and worthless.)

      • citaquidilla, maraming lawyer na ganito na ” de campanilla “na ibebenta ang kaluluwa at pati bayan para sa pera. sa ganito kaso sila yumayaman at ito ang pinalalamun nila sa pamilya nila.
        mayroon nga joke nuon sa isang senador, citaquidilla. nag take 5 sa bar yuon anak nyang si Rafael at pumasa kaya yuon kaso na tangan ng senador ay pinatangan nya sa anak. matapos ang isang taon sinabi ng anak sa tatay ” natapos ko na yuon kaso ng taysun sa lupa na tinanganan niyo ng 20 taon. nagalit ang tatay sa anak at sinabi na ” anak, hindi mo ba alam na yan kaso ng taysun ang nagpatapos sa iyo ng abugasya?”.
        joke lang ito, citaquidilla, pero maraming abugadong ganito lalo na ngayon, binibenta nila ang kaluluwa sa pera.

    22. Venerando Desales on

      The case of Poe is now sub judice in the Supreme Court. Any commentary on the case outside the Court might be interpreted as trial by publicity and preempt any adjudication that the High Court might render. In deference, why not wait for its resolution lest you expose yourself or anyone similarly situated to being held in contempt of court? Among the powers of the Supreme Court is to educate the bench, the bar, the other departments, and the citizens on constitutional issues raised to it by any agrieved petitioners. That is how check and balance work in Republicanism. The petition is a case of first impression, says one associate justice, which will enrich our jurisprudence. This 2016 Presidential elections is unique in our history because almost all presidential contenders are spoils! The Supreme Court is the proper authority to enlighten us on the matter.

    23. I myself was taken aback by the demands of this insubstantial wannabe named Grace Poe. Imagine, she can summon such gall from her system to demand that our eminent and illustrious legal thinkers like Justices Carpio, Leonardo de Castro and Brion recuse themselves from the disqualification case of one legal worm who know nothing of our Constitution. Our Constitution cannot be disobeyed. It is what holds our legal system together. It is what sets the basis for our government and sovereignty.

      Her lawyers ought to be reminded of their Lawyers Oath, which they declared in their Oath Taking and which goes as follows:

      “I ……do hereby solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its Constitution and obey its laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein. I will do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court. I will not wittingly nor willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit or give aid nor consent to the same. I will delay no man for money or malice and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me GOD.”

      It is obvious that the lawyers of this brazen political neophyte have wittingly thrown their Oath of Office to the dogs. They have abetted wrongdoing and disobedience to the Constitution. They should be disbarred.

    24. Watch how they will all be blown away by the Supreme Court, along with Senator Poe.

      Not so sure about that, in another country maybe but the Philippines has shown time and time again that the presidential appointee’s loyalty align with the one who gave them the job and not to the people or the constitution.

      Poe apparently wants to keep the 3 judges from the set committee from having their vote counted so the 5 or 6 Aquino appointee’s can win the case for Poe.
      Will the 5 or 6 Aquino appointee’s on the Supreme Court disregard and violate the constitution ? That should prove even to the dimwits that Poe has a deal with Aquino and that Aquino is truly backing Poe.

      • Indeed. But if we don’t even trust the justices in the SC, then, we might as well start disobeying the appointing power for abuse of discretion in their appointment and throw the Constitution. Similarly, if the justices disobey the Constitution to favor the appointing power, we might as well change the whole political system. I don’t think the justices would want to risk a public upheaval. But then, that might also be the game plan to justify the imposition of martial law to prolong the continued disobedience to the constitution. Now, we are seeing a public revelation of the mind of benigno sr. – the congenital liar, sans rival.

      • that might also be the game plan to justify the imposition of martial law to prolong the continued disobedience to the constitution.

        I think that is the end game plan if all of Aquino’s other schemes fail,

        If the Supreme Court ignore the constitution and vote to allow Poe to run then there is a chance the people will revolt. Not much chance of a uprising over blatant corruption by the Supreme Court in my opinion.

        If by chance the people protest the Supreme Court allowing Poe to run then martial law and no election, Aquino stays in control.
        If no massive protest then…election continues

        If neither Poe or Roxas is leading the race then Smartmatic tries to steal the election for one of them.

        If the people revolt over corruption by Aquino and Smartmatic then martial law , Aquino stays in control.

        If no civil unrest protest of Aquino and Smartmatic hocus pocus

        If Roxas or Poe is elected then Aquino gets a get out of jail free card.

        Then 6 more years of Congress stealing the budget and the top 1% sucking up 60% of the GDP or more, rising crime, rising poverty, underfunded education etc.