Sen. Grace Poe will be able to get a reversal of her disqualification from the presidential race next year, a lawmaker allied with the independent aspirant for President said.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said Poe’s legal case is strong.
“Under our legal system and jurisprudence the complainant has the burden of proof, not the accused. Since Grace is presumed a natural-born Filipino under international law, the complainants must prove that Grace Poe is a foreigner. The Comelec [Commission on Elections] shifted the burden on Sen. Poe to prove that she’s a Filipino,” Colmenares told the Manila Times in a text message.
“I’m sure the Supreme Court will reverse the Comelec’s special discriminatory treatment of Grace and reiterate the general rule that unless complainants prove Grace Poe is a foreigner, she is therefore a Filipino and qualified to run for public office,” he added.
Colmenares, a lawyer, is among the 12 senatorial candidates under the Poe-Chiz Escudero tandem.
Earlier, two divisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified Poe from the presidential race.
When asked if the disqualification cost Poe voters or support, Colmenares said, “I really don’t know the impact. We’ll see in the next survey siguro.”
Poe has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc (full bench).
“Malayo pa ang election [The election is still a long time away. Enough time to win back voters who left her,” political analyst Ramon Casiple told the Times when asked how a reversal from the Supreme Court will affect Poe’s chances of winning next year or if her disqualification cases already caused voters to shift to another candidate.
Asked who among the presidential bets is gaining most from Poe’s disqualification, Casiple replied, "If not disqualified himself, [Davao Mayor Rodrigo] Duterte.”
For his part, Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez 3rd said in a text message, “We don’t include her possible disqualification in our election strategy. We have always prepared for the scenario where all those who indicated their plans to run, will still be in the race by May.”
“We’d rather focus on building up our own strengths, emphasizing our message, and establishing genuine connection with the voters,” he added.
Gutierrez was responding to a Times query on whether Poe’s disqualification has any effect on the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
He has said in an Ugnayan media forum last month that Poe was the “person to beat” based on current surveys but that it was still too early to tell who was the biggest threat to Roxas.
The disqualification cases against Poe has “taken a toll” on the Senators ratings, even dislodging her from the number one position which she held for several months.
This was based on the result of the pre-election survey conducted this December by the party list group Magdalo of the independent vice presidential candidate Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th.
Poe, a consistent number one in the Magdalo survey, dropped to second place while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte took the top spot getting 31.9 percent of respondents favoring his presidential bid.
Poe on the hand scored 26 percent scored 26 percent followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay who got 23.6 percent.
Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd was in fourth place with 13.5 percent, Senator Miriam Santiago with four percent, and former Ambassador Roy Seneres with 0.1 percent.
Party-list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo, said the pre-election survey, that was conducted on December 9-11, provided respondents with the list of known candidates for president/vice president, and were asked ‘If elections would be held today, who among the following candidates would you vote for?’”
Acedillo noted that a significant number of respondents presumed that Poe was already disqualified in running for President, or were asking if the senator was already disqualified.
But Magdalo researchers were not able to clarify the issue to the respondents because, according to Acedillo, the examiners are not allowed to engage with the respondents to avoid influencing their answers.
“We expect that these figures and the candidates’ ranking will continue to notably change, especially when the COMELEC en banc and the Supreme Court, eventually, will release their decision on Sen. Poe’s and Mayor Duterte’s candidacy,” Acedillo added in a statement.
Escudero, the running mate of Poe, maintained his top position with 28.8 percent followed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos with 22.3 percent.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is the biggest gainer in the vice presidential polls with 16.6 percent from last October’s 11 percent placing him on third position.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in fourth place with 11.7 percent; followed by Senator Trillanes with 10.6 percent; and Senator Gregorio Honasan with eight percent.