REGARDLESS of the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the disqualification cases filed against Senator Grace Poe, it is the Supreme Court (SC) that will have the final say on the matter but it would be better if the high tribunal will allow a higher body—the Filipino people—to decide on the case, a respected political analyst said.
Professor Ramon Casiple, executive director of Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), explained that it would be better if the SC will not intervene in the case and just let the people decide on whether Poe deserves the presidency.
“It (disqualification case) is a political question and there is a higher body than the Supreme Court who will make the choice come election time, the sovereign people,” Casiple noted.
Poe, who has been consistently leading the presidential preference surveys, is facing several disqualification cases at the SET and the Comelec for allegedly not a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for those seeking the presidency.
According to Casiple, the tribunal will in effect be the one choosing for the people if it decided to disqualify Poe from the 2016 presidential race.
“We should also consider what will be the response of the electorate in the event Poe is disqualified. It there are those who stormed the Department of Justice (DOJ) the SC could also experience the same,” the political analyst added.
Asked about the effects of the disqualification cases to Poe’s ratings, Casiple said that he doesn’t see the petition having an effect on the perception of voters towards Poe. However, it could have an effect on the views of potential campaign contributors and financiers.
He noted that financiers may be discouraged from supporting Poe’s campaign if those who filed the complaints will be able to show that there is a strong case against the senator.
Casiple however said the National Statistics Office (NSO) has no issues on “foundlings” and they are considered natural-born Filipinos. He noted that a former NSO head told him that those registered as foundlings are automatically considered natural-born since there was no process done for them to become Filipino citizens.