Sen. Grace Poe has asked the three Supreme Court (SC) justices who are also members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal to inhibit from hearing her petition contesting her disqualification in next year’s elections.
In a petition filed on Tuesday, Poe asked Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion to inhibit themselves from deliberations on the petition she filed against the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“They already decided [against]my natural-born Filipino citizenship, and this issue is included in the Comelec disqualification case. They already checked the papers. If these need verification, they should not be the one doing that anymore,” she told reporters.
The three justices were among the four who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition of Rizalito David that asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal to nullify Poe’s proclamation as one of the winners in the 2013 senatorial elections.
David had argued that for being a foundling with no known biological Filipino parents, the senator could not lay claim to be a natural-born citizen, which is one of the requirements of the 1987 Constitution for those sitting as senators.
The electoral tribunal had ruled 5-4 dismissing David’s petition.
The five affirmative votes were cast by Poe’s fellow senators.
Sen. Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, is the other dissenter in the ruling that was questioned before the SC.
Carpio earlier said he was inhibiting from the case before the tribunal.
He explained that under the court’s rules, justices are not allowed to review their own decisions.
The First and Second Divisions of the Comelec, meanwhile, ruled to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy for President as the commissioners gave weight to arguments assailing her qualifications.
Poe on Monday managed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the SC, stopping the Comelec from implementing the ruling of its two divisions.
“We are not questioning their integrity. It has been observed that once you already made a decision, you should voluntarily inhibit [the next time the same issue is raised]because you already reached a decision. They did not change it, so why do they have to review it again?” she pointed out.
“We are really hoping that they will inhibit. But if they don’t, we are prepared and I am at peace with what would be God’s will for me. I am in this fight for fairness. We can’t just resign to a fact that we will go to the government without the hope that we will secure justice,” Poe said.
She also asked the High Court to consolidate all the cases related to her residency and citizenship.
The SC on Tuesday amended its TRO on the Poe case and announced that it is now also requiring the four complainants against Poe’s presidential bid to comment on her petition.
In the amended temporary restraining orders issued by the SC dated December 28, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, former senator Francistco Tatad, former law school dean Amado Valdez and political science professor Antonio Contreras were directed to comment on the petition filed by Poe in 10 days.
Poe, in a news conference, once again castigated the Comelec for ignoring her evidence, calling her a liar in the process.
“We have a good chance [of winning our case]because this [TRO] remedies the problem we had with Comelec [commissioners]who turned a blind eye to our evidence. Now, we will be showing our evidence, something that the Comelec did not recognize a bit,” she said.
“They have called me a liar, but they ignored my evidence. I can go straight to them and tell to their faces, evidence in hand, dare them to tell me who is the liar,” Poe added.
The senator, however, said she is confident that the SC justices will decide based on merits of the case, not on the whims of the appointing power, President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“We believe in the integrity of the Supreme Court justices and that they will vote based on their oath to serve the people,” Poe added.
She thanked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Justice Mariano del Castillo and Marvic Leonen for “giving space to the truth, defending the rights of ordinary Filipinos and stopping undue pressure” from those apparently trying to derail her presidential run in next year’s polls.