Sen. Grace Poe’s big pre-election fight has reached the Supreme Court (SC).
Rizalito David—a radio commentator who sought to nullify Poe’s win in the 2013 elections over citizenship and residency issues—on Tuesday filed a petition for certiorari contesting the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal to dismiss his case.
David had filed a quo warranto petition with the tribunal, which ruled 5-4 in Poe’s favor.
He argued that Poe did not meet the constitutional requirement on citizenship and residency when she ran for senator and emerged as the topnotcher in 2013.
Being a foundling with no known biological Filipino parents, Poe could not claim being a natural-born citizen, David said.
He withdrew the residency issue during the pre-trial stage.
All three justice-members of the electoral tribunal voted to affirm David’s arguments.
All five tribunal members who voted to dismiss the petition were Poe’s colleagues in the Senate.
In his latest petition, David assailed the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s majority decision declaring Poe a natural-born citizen “despite the absence of proof of blood ties to a Filipino father or mother.”
He also questioned Poe’s reacquisition of her Philippine citizenship.
“Clearly, the [tribunal’s] majority misinterpreted the Constitution, the laws, procedural rules and jurisprudence in giving effect to non-binding international [laws]and in acknowledging the flawed theory of citizenship by legal fiction,” David said in a statement.
He criticized the tribunal’s majority for allegedly voting based on “personal and or political considerations” in violation of the Lerias doctrine, in which judges were reminded to rule on cases as judges, not as politicians.
Those who voted in Poe’s favor were Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano and Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th.
Sotto is running for reelection under Poe’s ticket and had served as the spokesman for the senator’s father, Fernando Poe Jr., in the 2004 elections while Legarda was the elder Poe’s running mate.
Villar is the wife of former Senate president Manuel Villar, leader of the Nacionalista Party, which had earlier entertained the idea to adopt Poe as its standard-bearer.
Those who voted for the petition were SC Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion and Sen. Nancy Binay, whose father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, is also running for President.
Poe is still facing multiple disqualification cases with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the same grounds.
The Comelec’s Second Division has approved the disqualification case filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo and has ruled to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy for President. The case is under appeal.
The First Division, meanwhile, is yet to issue its ruling on the three other cases filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, Dela Salle University professor and political analyst Antonio Contreras and former law dean Amado Valdez.