To disqualify Poe – sources
JUSTICES of the Supreme Court (SC) were offered P50 million each to disqualify Senator Grace Poe from running as a presidential candidate in the May elections, well-placed sources at the High Court said on Monday.
The bribery attempt was disclosed on the eve of an en banc session where SC justices were expected to vote on the disqualification case against the senator.
The sources told The Manila Times two attempts were made to buy off the votes of the magistrates, both by persons “very close” to President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, the standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP).
The first offer, the sources said, came from a female lawyer who is supportive of Roxas’ presidential candidacy. The lawyer, a former Malacañang official, now works at a private law office. The sources said the law firm is behind a special operation to disqualify Poe.
“The offer was P50 million for each justice who will disqualify Poe,” one of the sources said. “The justices refused (the offer),” he added.
The source said the offer was relayed to one of the justices appointed by Aquino.
Another source said that a member of the ruling LP dangled the same offer to a senior justice, who also declined it.
The source said a lawmaker and his “partner,” a former businessman close to Aquino and Roxas, were behind the second attempt to bribe the justices.
The Manila Times tried to interview several justices but they refused to discuss the bribery attempt.
But a magistrate who asked not to be identified stressed that the tribunal will not bow to any pressure to decide on the case in exchange for cash.
The bribery offer was compared to what happened during the Senate impeachment trial for Chief Justice Renato Corona, who eventually lost his office.
Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said there was an offer of P50 million for each senator who would convict Corona, who was later impeached.
Justices of the high tribunal will tackle the disqualification case against Poe today, the last day for the magistrates to submit their dissenting or concurring opinions to the draft decision written by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
If no voting is held today, it is likely to resume on Wednesday during a special en banc session the tribunal has set.
Sources had told The Times that del Castillo pushed for the disqualification of Poe because she failed to meet the residency requirement for those presidential candidates.
The justice said the Commission on Elections did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it disqualified Poe, thus, he said the temporary restraining order issued by the SC stopping the poll body from dropping Poe from the list of presidential candidates should be lifted.