Senator Grace Poe is expected to show up at oral arguments at the Supreme Court (SC) on January 19.
Her possible appearance was disclosed after a preliminary conference held at the SC on Thursday.
The High Court shall tackle in the oral arguments two petitions filed by Poe in fighting a disqualification ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to bar her from the presidential race in the May 2016 polls.
According to George Garcia, Poe’s lawyer, the senator will be represented in the hearing by her lead legal counsel Alex Poblador.
Poe’s camp was ordered to argue first and they will have 10 minutes to do so but the time can be lengthened depending on questioning of SC justices.
The Comelec will then be given also 10 minutes to present its arguments.
It will be followed by Estrella Elamparo in the first case and former senator Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez in the second case for a combined time allocation of 20 minutes.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will argue last with a time allocation of also 10 minutes.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay initially refused to participate in the Comelec issue against Poe since he had filed his comment in favor of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which junked a disqualification case against Poe and stated that the senator is a natural-born Filipino.
But the Supreme Court decided to order the OSG to participate as “Tribune of the People.”
The court en banc has even disseminated an advisory for the oral arguments on January 19.
It cited the issues to be taken up including:
A. Procedural ones;
– Whether the Comelec has jurisdiction over the petition to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by Valdez, Contreras and Elamparo, and the petition for disqualification filed by Tatad;
– Whether the Comelec should have dismissed and not entertained the petition filed by Tatad on the ground of failure to state the cause of action and for invoking grounds for a petition to cancel or deny due course to a COC;
– Whether Rule 23, Section 8 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure violates Article IX-A, Section 7 (Common Provisions, Constitutional Commissions) of the 1987 Constitution or whether it is contrary to Section 3, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court;
– Whether the Comelec usurped the jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) when it ruled on Poe’s eligibility to run as President, particularly with respect to her citizenship and residence;
– Whether the Comelec is precluded from determining whether Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen considering the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s November 17, 2015 decision in her favor; and
– Whether the Comelec ruling on Poe’s citizenship effectively revoked the July 17, 2006 order of the Bureau of Immigration declaring the senator to be presumptively natural-born Filipino and approving her petition to re-acquire natural-born Filipino citizenship.