• Residency issue junked

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    Electoral tribunal to zero in on Poe’s citizenship

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    Make way Security men and aides clear the way as Sen. Grace Poe enters the Supreme Court building to attend a preliminary conference of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Photo by Russell Palma

    Make way Security men and aides clear the way as Sen. Grace Poe enters the Supreme Court building to attend a preliminary conference of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Photo by Russell Palma

    The Senate Electoral Tribunal on Friday junked the residency issue in the disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe.

    During the tribunal’s preliminary conference at the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, the members of the tribunal ruled to drop the residency issue against Poe after petitioner, Rizalito David, withdrew the complaint.

    The withdrawal came after electoral tribunal chairman, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, asked David during the hearing if he is willing to drop the residency issue to enable the tribunal to focus on the citizenship question.

    Carpio raised the residency issue in view of the prescriptive period provided for by tribunal rules, particularly Section 18, which states that a quo warranto case must be filed within 10 days after proclamation.

    David then agreed with Carpio’s recommendation, paving the way for the withdrawal of the issue from the case.

    “I accepted para mapadali na ang proseso [to hasten the process]in good faith,” David said.

    David, however, insisted that under the 1987 Constitution, natural-born Filipinos are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire their citizenship, contrary to what Poe did when she renounced her Filipino citizenship and acquired US citizenship.

    Aside from Carpio, the tribunal is composed of SC Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion, and Senators Loren Legarda, Vicente  Sotto 3rd, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Paolo Benigno Aquino and Nancy Binay.

    The tribunal will continue with oral arguments on September 21.

    Sentimental proceedings

    Poe, who attended the tribunal conference, said her attendance was “sentimental.”

    “Ito po ay replay ng nangyari sa aking tatay. Medyo sentimental nga po ang aking pagdalo ngayon [This is a replay of what happened to my father. My coming here is a bit sentimental],” she told reporters.

    “Ako ay kusang nagpunta dito upang depensahan ang mga paratang laban sa akin, upang depensahan po ang aking sarili nang walang takot at direktang sinasabi sa kanila na ako ay isang tunay na Pilipino… replay ito ng nangyari sa aking tatay noong 2004 [came here on my own volition to defend myself against accusations and I’m here to directly tell the tribunal members that I am a true Filipino. This is a replay of what happened to my father in 2004],” the senator said.

    The citizenship of Poe’s father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., was also questioned before the Supreme Court.

    The SC ruled that Poe Jr. is a natural-born Filipino citizen under the terms of the 1935 Constitution.

    The younger Poe said the case against her is a mere ploy to prevent her from seeking higher office in 2016.

    Harassment suit

    Poe’s lead counsel, Alexander Poblador, said the case is just a harassment suit to derail the political plans of his client.

    The senator, who leads in pre-election surveys,  is yet to categorically announce her political plans for 2016.

    “The petition has more to do with what will happen in 2016 rather than her current seat in the Senate,” Poblador said.

    He insisted that Poe is a natural-born Filipino and had met the residency requirement when she ran for the Senate more than two years ago.

    “We have sufficient evidence to prove that Senator Poe met the citizenship and residency requirements for congressional candidates when she ran and won in the 2013 mid-term elections,” it was pointed out.

    He argued that the disqualification case must be dismissed outright for late filing and forum shopping, stating that a similar case was also lodged by David with the Commission on Elections.

    “Since Senator Poe was proclaimed on May 16, 2013, those who would want to question her qualifications had only until May 26, 2013 to file a petition against her,” Poblador said.

    There was also proof that Poe intended to return and remain in the Philippines for good, which includes returning to the Philippines in the first half of 2005; enrolling her children in local schools in June 2005; purchasing a property in late 2005; construction of her family home in Quezon City in early 2006; and sale of their Virginia home in 2006.

    Poblador  argued that in the absence of contrary proof, a foundling like Poe is presumed to be Filipino.

    “The presumption is that Senator Poe is a natural-born Filipino and the one who alleges the contrary must prove that she is not,” he said.

    Poe, whose parents were unknown, was found abandoned inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo in 1968. She was later adopted by actors Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

    No stopping Grace

    Poe’s supporters in Congress say the senator remains a strong presidential contender even if the disqualification case against her will be resolved after the filing of the certificate of candidacy from October 12 to 16.

    Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., as well as party-list Representatives Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol) and Gary Alejano (Magdalo), said this in reaction to tribunal member Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd’s  statement that Poe’s case could drag on until November.

    “It [delayed judgment]won’t necessarily scare off her potential supporters. But they [in the electoral tribunal]should decide it soonest,” Belmonte added.

    “I am confident that such baseless case will be dismissed not only based on technicalities but on substantive grounds. But above all else, a harassment case can’t and should not override the mandate given by the people. Vox Populi, Vox Dei [The voice of the people is the voice of God],” Batocabe  said.

    “After the filing of certificate of candidacy in October, Senator Poe would be an official candidate and it is the people who would be the best judge on whether she deserves to become the next President, regardless of the legal issues pending before the tribunal,” Alejano said in a text message.

    “This is aside from the fact that I don’t believe she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen,” he added.

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    10 Comments

    1. Residency case vs Poe has been dropped due to lack of basis. Expect the citizenship issue to be dropped as much well

    2. I agree with Mr. Guerrero. Mostly of the Senators voted by the Filipino people were nothing. They were stupid and Idiot like their President who is moronic and spoiled brat. Feed your mind people for voting the candidates at the higher position in this coming election. This is not a popularity contest. dito nakasalalay ang kinabukasan ng ating mamayan at bayan. Made no mistake anymore. dont vote stupid people with stupid mind.like this administration. Ginawang trial and error ang pagpapalakad ng bansa. No to celebrities, no to media , no to personalities at the government position.
      magtanda na tayong mga pilipino. wala ng artista na dapat iboto….

    3. Mr David deserved to lose the senate race to Ms Poe simply because he and his handlers are stupid. The rule to file a quo warranto within 10 days after proclamation would have been a losing battle for Mr David but it would have showed Ms Poe who she truly is. A fraudster who took advantage of the Philippines inept and corrupt government.

      Mr David’s handlers have totally missed this opportunity.

    4. The 10 day period requirement is only technicalities.Once cause should not be defeated by technicalities but must be addressed on substance. The constitution requires 2 year residency. If Poe doesn’t fulfill this criteria, then she is not qualified even if the complain was filed after 10 days. With this ruling, the SET unmistakably lower the residency requirement.

    5. Senator Escudero said the 1,470 units of CAC Mahindra’s EnforcerPolice Patrol Cars that have been converted from right hand drive to left hand could endanger its passengers.
      “India is a right hand drive vehicles’ country, ”he quipped to media men here Thursday.
      The Department of Budget and Management approved the P1.3 billion budget for their procurement.
      He cited that when the driver manoeuvre the driving wheel to the right, the right front wheel did not jibe to the desired location of the driver. READ ENTIRE STORY: http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com/2015/09/sen-escudero-decries-india-made-cars.html

    6. Jose A. Oliveros on

      No similarity between the case of FPJ and his adopted daughter Grace Poe-Llamanzares because in the FPJ case, both parties admitted that FPJ’s father, Fernando Poe, Sr. was a Filipino being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a Spanish subject who became a Filipino citizen by virtue of the Treaty of Paris. (Yes, that was the way it was spelled but no explanation was given was the surname became Poe). In the case of Grace, his father and mother are both unknown so their citizenship are also unknown.

    7. I don’t know what David is trying to prove. It is obvious that somebody is behind on all his moves. There seems to be no logical motive if it was his, as he will not derive any benefit being that Poe’s candidacy will not affect him at all. He can always opt not to vote for her if she runs for president. So, if Poe is declared by the SET decision that she is not a citizen, David can’t take her senate seat. Roxas and Binay for sure will benefit if she is found unqualified. But David is an LP and there are rumors that Erice is behind all of this anti Poe movements. Why do you think Poe never wanted to meet him?

    8. Mr. Senator Kit, after yesterday’s SET proceedings, do you still believe that Senator Grace is not a natural born Filipino Citizen? Arguendo, do you also still believe that Senator Grace lacks required residency? This is the time, another chance, for you to speak up. Present your case, your evidence, your strong legal grounds to support your belief; otherwise, people will not care to read you next time. God Bless…

      • To Mr. Isabela Boy: This is not in defense for Ex. Senator Tatad, please take note that Kit Tatad had been a Senator who passed all legal requirements to do so. He served with dignity and he is considered as one of the few senators with accomplishments to be proud of. Unfortunately today we have so many senators who were elected , maybe through election rigging as a result of the infamous HOCOS-PCOS which this regime still want to do in the next national election. There are so many sitting senators who are not qualified in which Grace Poe is one among them. Grace Poe is a clear product of Pnoys election fraud. I understand the goal of Ex Senator Tatad is nothing but a clean election arising from lawful means. This is a test case. Otherwise if Grace Poe had been truthful to the Filipino people which incidentally she could not even be honest to herself, such cases should not be raised. We must have a good lesson on the Aquino presidency. We are victims of misgovernance by electing a STUPID president. Do you think Grace Poe can do better than Pnoy? What did she do with the Mamasapano Investigation in which she even declared the bucks stops on Pnoy? If you are a Filipino who wants this country prosper…better read Ex.Senator Tatad`s explanations again so that you will understand his point.