WITH the Supreme Court’s (SC) affirmation of its earlier ruling allowing her to run, Senator Grace Poe believes that all obstacles to her presidential candidacy had been lifted and that she will be able to hurdle questions on her citizenship should a case be filed against her at the presidential electoral tribunal (PET) if she wins the presidency.
The PET handles disqualification cases against an incumbent president.
“Matibay ang naging desisyon. Sa tingin ko ay kahit na kuwestiyunin pa nila sa PET, malakas ang laban natin. [The decision is firm. I believe that if they ever question it before the PET, we have a strong chance],” Poe said.
With the SC ruling, the senator said nothing can stop her now.
“Parang nawalan na ng kadena ang ating pangangampanya at tuloy-tuloy na po (The shackles that restricted my campaign is gone so everything’s a go),” Poe said in during a visit to Sorsogon, home province of her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
Poe was reacting to the High Court’s ruling denying with finality the motions for reconsideration of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other petitioners. The SC said “no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision.”
On March 8, the High Court, through a 9-6 vote, ruled that Poe can join the presidential race, saying the Comelec acted with grave abuse of discretion when it cancelled the senator’s certificate of candidacy on questions of citizenship and residency.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesperson, said the SC decision is a victory not only for Poe but for democracy.
“This development will pave the way for our electorate to be able to choose the next
President from a complete list of candidates. This ruling also enshrines the principle that indeed our laws were crafted to protect all, especially those who are marginalized,” he said.
Gatchalian said Poe will continue to advocate inclusive growth and will champion solutions that will once and for all defeat poverty and unemployment.
Poe also vowed to put an end to criminality without declaring martial law.
She said that if she wins, she will make sure that criminality will not flourish under her administration.
She pointed out that the country has experienced martial law but criminality persisted.
“What we need is a program that will attack the root of the country’s criminality problem which is poverty,” the senator said.
Poe said that she cannot promise to put an end to criminality in a short period of time, but she will have a system that could effectively stop criminals and drug traffickers.
“If there is protection, there is prevention so we will increase the number of our policemen and increasing their pay, but we will not tolerate those who are remiss of their duties,” she said.
Poe added that she will also train barangay officials and equip them to help fight criminality.