The Supreme Court (SC) en banc has affirmed the temporary restraining order (TRO) earlier issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from enforcing its ruling disqualifying Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race.
Voting 12-3, magistrates upheld the stay order that will ensure that Poe’s name will not be taken off the list of presidential candidates in the official ballots to be printed this month.
Those who voted against the confirmation of the TRO were Senior Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion.
It was Sereno who issued the TRO on December 28, 2015 because the tribunal was on recess.
Under the rules, the Chief Justice can issue a restraining order when the court is on a break but it will have to be confirmed by the en banc once session resumes.
The High Court also set oral arguments for two disqualification cases filed against Poe on January 19 at 2 p.m.
It, however, reset oral arguments on the case filed by Rizalito David against the Senate Electoral Tribunal that were scheduled for January 19.
The SC also ordered the consolidation of the two Comelec cases.
The ponente will be Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
The two cases involved complaints filed against Poe by Estrella Elamparo and Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez.
They were elevated to the High Court after the Comelec en banc upheld rulings of two of its divisions disqualifying Poe for not being a natural-born Filipino and for having failed to meet the residency requirement for candidates seeking the presidency.
Poe, a foundling, has maintained that she is qualified to run for President.
Another case involving Poe arose from a decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal upholding Poe’s natural-born citizenship.
The decision was appealed at the High Court by Rizalito David, one of those questioning the senator’s citizenship.
Poe, reacting to the SC’s Tuesday ruling, described the decision a victory not only for her but also for democracy.
She said the ruling strengthened her position that she is qualified to seek the presidency.
Senator Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, thanked the SC magistrates.
“We hope that the High Court will also uphold the laws and long established jurisprudence when it decides on the other petitions in connection with the candidacy of Sen. Grace,” he said.