SC upholds Grace’s presidential candidacy
Senator Grace Poe got a reprieve from the Supreme Court (SC) when it junked a petition seeking to boot her out of the presidential race in the May 2016 elections.
The high tribunal, sitting en banc, on Monday dismissed the petition filed by Vicente Dante P. Adan against the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Adan had questioned the Comelec’s decision to accept the senator’s certificate of candidacy, as well as the COC of other candidates who had renounced their foreign citizenship to become Filipinos once again so they could seek electoral posts in this year’s polls.
But the High Court ruled that that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it accepted the COC of Poe and other candidates who reacquired their Filipino citizenship under Republic Act (RA) 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003.
In its ruling dated January 26, 2016, signed and promulgated by Felipa Anama, Clerk of Court of the en banc, the SC dismissed the petition for mandamus filed by Adan, saying the petitioner cannot ask the tribunal to compel the Comelec to reject the COC of Poe and other candidates via a mandamus petition.
“After a judicious review of the records, the court resolves to dismiss the instant petition for failure of petitioner Vicente Dante P. Adan to show that the cancellation of the certificates of candidacy of citizens repatriated under under Republic Act 9225 of the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003, who are running for national elective offices, is a ministerial act of respondent Commission on Elections and a proper subject of a petition for mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,” it said.
Although Adan mentioned the cases of other naturalized Filipinos in his petition, only Poe was included as a private respondent.
The SC also ruled that Section 2 of RA 9225 is legal and constitutional, noting that it cannot be assailed by the petitioner through a collateral attack.
Section 2 of RA 9225 states that it is the policy of the State “that all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this act.”
The tribunal pointed out that if someone wants to question the constitutionality of a certain law, he or she must file a petition directly assailing that law.
If not, that law shall be presumed to be a valid one.
“Moreover, the petition assails the constitutionality of Section 2 of RA 9225 which, under prevailing jurisprudence, constitutes a collateral attack on the said law. It is settled that a collateral attack on a presumably valid law is not allowed,” it pointed out.
The case is separate from the disqualification cases filed against Poe that are pending at the high tribunal.
The SC will continue to hear oral arguments on Poe’s case on Tuesday.
The senator was disqualified by the Comelec on the ground that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen.
The High Court, however, issued a temporary restraining order late in December 2015 stopping the poll body from dropping Poe from its official list of presidential candidates.
Also, the tribunal is yet to decide on another petition questioning the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) dismissing the disqualification complaint filed against Poe.
Several personalities and groups question the candidacy of the senator, among them Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez.