Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has included the disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe, a presidential candidate in next year’s elections, in the calendar of the Supreme Court special session on December 16, according to a well-placed source of The Manila Times in the SC.
The task of writing a draft ponencia on a petition for certiorari filed by Rizalito David against the Senate Electoral Tribunal and Poe, the source said, went to Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen after a raffle held last Thursday.
Originally, December 16 was the date set for voting on the controversial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States and on whether to lift a temporary restraining order on the “No bio, no boto” case involving the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Months ago, Leonen and Poe attended a meeting of the Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA) in Tagaytay City, where the senator was the guest of honor.
In a photograph that was published in newspapers later, Poe was shown standing between Leonen and SC Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
The PWJA president is SC Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which this month voted 5-4 to dismiss the disqualification case filed by David against Poe.
In his petition for certiorari, David assailed the ruling of the electoral tribunal declaring Poe natural-born despite, he said, absence of proof of blood ties to a Filipino father or mother.
According to him, majority of the tribunal members committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring the senator a natural-born Filipino citizen.
David asked the High Court to reverse and declare void the electoral tribunal’s majority decision and immediately issue a temporary restraining order or injunction order, which would immediately disqualify Poe.
Recently, the Comelec’s First and Second and Divisions decided to cancel the senator’s certificate of candidacy for President over citizenship and residency issues.