THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has appointed Commissioner Christian Robert Lim as lead counsel for the commission when the Supreme Court (SC) opens oral arguments on the disqualification cases of Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday.
Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Arthur Lim were also named representatives of the poll body in the SC under Resolution 10039.
Oral arguments will be heard in connection with the disqualification complaints filed against Poe by Estrella Elamparo and in the consolidated cases filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez.
The Comelec’s move was prompted by the withdrawal of the Solicitor General as s counsel for the commission because of a clash of opinions.
The Office of the Solicitor General had sided with the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) declaring Poe a natural-born Filipino citizen.
The same Comelec resolution also ratified and validated the 73-page comment earlier filed by Guanzon at the SC, which sparked a word war between the commissioner and Chairman Juan Andres Bautista who claimed that the filing was unauthorized by the commission.
The resolution also noted the clash of opinions between the two Lims – Christian Robert and Arthur – on whether the Comelec is a nominal or principal party in Poe’s petitions at the SC, which included the poll body as a respondent.
In a memorandum, Christian Robert, the younger of the two Lims, said that the Comelec is merely a nominal party in the case, and as such the commission en banc must not actively participate therein.
The younger Lim said the poll body should leave to Elamparo, Tatad, Contreras and Valdez the obligation to defend their individual positions.
“The Supreme Court, after all, can decide the controversy without the Commission actively participating in the certiorari proceedings,” he pointed out.
But Commissioner Arthur Lim argued that the Comelec is a principal party.
The Comelec en banc disqualified Poe in December last year, affirming the ruling of the first and second divisions that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and failed to meet the minimum 10-year residency requirement.
The First Division is chaired by Christian Robert Lim with Guanzon and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia as members. It handled the consolidated case filed by Tatad, Contreras and Valdez.
The Second Division, on the other hand, is headed by Commissioner Al Parreno with Commissioners Arthur Lim and Shariff Abas as members. It handled the petition filed by Elamparo.