THE recent decision of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe has no effect on the lawmaker’s presidential bid “for now” and that such ruling “may still change” eventually, according to the poll body’s spokesman on Thursday.
“The Second Division decision is not immediately executory. It’s not over yet. It can still change,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said during the Know your Candidates Forum at the Aloha Hotel.
Jimenez explained that the poll body “is not the SET [Senate Electoral Tribunal],” saying it is not “beholden” to anyone and that the panel’s ruling was “only based on facts.”
“They [Poe camp] can file an appeal… malayo pa [still a long way to go]. The official list of candidates has not been released yet by the en banc. Hindi natin puwedeng pangunahan [We cannot preempt]. Walang effect sa candidacy kasi wala pang [There is no effect on the candidacy because there still is no] official list,” according to the spokesman.
Jimenez was referring to the electoral tribunal’s decision to junk a disqualification case against Poe on the ground of her questioned citizenship.
The Comelec Second Division recently ruled to cancel the candidacy of the senator for two reasons: material misrepresentation and for being not a natural-born citizen.
On the first ground, it was alleged that Poe misrepresented herself as having met the required ten-year residency when she ran for senator while her being a “foundling” raised questions on her birthright.
“To be natural-born, either your father or mother should be a Filipino,” Jimenez said, in reference to Poe’s failure to find her biological parents to prove her legitimacy as a natural-born Filipino.
In Malacañang, meanwhile, its spokesman Edwin Lacierda admitted that Poe’s camp can still exhaust all legal remedies allowed by law but that they have to respect whatever the final outcome would be.
“They still have remedies available for them. They have I understand a motion for [reconsideration], and then if they are not happy with that, they can go up to the [Comelec] en banc, and if they are not happy with it… And I mean, any party who is not happy with it, not just one party—party who is not happy with the decision rendered, can always go up,” he said.
“There’s an appeals process,” Lacierda added.
He said candidates running for national elections should respect the rule of law.
“These are institutions ordained by the Constitution and the Constitution was ratified by the people. So, we can only ask everyone, all the candidates, to please respect the process and respect the rule of law,” Lacierda added.