Former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad on Saturday said his camp will ask the Supreme Court to conduct new hearings and hold a re-voting on the disqualification case filed against Senator Grace Poe once they receive an official copy of the decision.
“We will go to court and will ask for re-voting and rehearing of the case. Hindi na motion for reconsideration because there is nothing to reconsider. There is no valid ruling to reconsider. So that is our position. Pero napakalinaw po [But it is very clear]: ‘yung Comelec decision, en banc decision, is based on [the]decision of the two divisions, which ruled on our four petitions,” Tatad said in a media forum in Quezon City.
The former senator, one of the petitioners who sought Poe’s disqualification, said there is no SC ruling yet because the tribunal has yet to explain the basis of the votation.
“Walang Supreme Court decision [There is no Supreme Court decision]. There’s no Supreme Court ruling. Pinaniwala tayo na nagbotohan [We were led to think that there was a voting]. Nine-six daw ang boto [The result of the voting is reportedly 9-6]. All the headlines said Grace can run. Hindi sinabi kung ano ang naging base ng boto, basta binalita na nine daw ang bumoto [The basis for the votes was not mentioned, it was just announced that nine voted], saying that Grace can run. Pero hindi natin alam kung saan po nanggaling ito [But we do not know where this came from],” Tatad told reporters.
SC spokesperson Theodore Te on Tuesday said the High Court allowed Poe to run based on the majority decision of its magistrates. However, Te did not say whether the SC upheld Poe’s contentions that she is a natural-born Filipino and that she met the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.
On Friday night, the SC released its 47-page decision, penned by Associate Justice Jose Perez.
In that decision, the court said that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gravely abused its discretion when it cancelled Poe’s certificate of candidacy because of issues on her citizenship and residency.
“There is more than sufficient evidence that petitioner has Filipino parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino,” the tribunal said.
“Her admission that she is a foundling did not shift the burden to her because such status did not exclude the possibility that her parents were Filipinos, especially as in this case where there is a high possibility, if not certainty, that her parents are Filipinos,” it added.
The SC, in its decision, also said that Poe is right in claiming in her COC that she will have been a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months on the day before the 2016 elections.
Tatad, meanwhile, claimed that only seven magistrates actually voted in favor of Poe.
“Pinaniwala tayo na nine-six ang voting. Sabi ng lawyer ko there was no nine-six voting [We were led to believe that the voting was nine-six. My lawyer said there was no nine-six voting]. Ang bumoto: only seven justices in favor of Grace Poe’s so-called citizenship and residency. Seven? This is a court of 15, hindi majority vote so walang ruling [there is no majority vote so there is no ruling]. We cannot recognize it,” he said.
Tatad said his petition was based on Poe’s admission when she ran for senator in 2013 that she has resided in the country for six years and six months.
“Galing po sa kanya yan. So from elections of 2013, kwentahin mo lang po yung panahon na tumakbo until the day before May ng election. Hindi po umaabot ng sampung taon yan. Ang inilagay niya sa kanyang COC, 10 years and 11 months ang kanyang residence dito to qualify for presidency [That came from her. So from the elections in 2013, you just compute the period that elapsed until the day before the elections in May this year. It will not tally to 10 years. What she stated in her COC is that she has resided in the country for 10 years and 10 months to qualify for presidency],” he said.
“Under the constitution kasi at least 10 years [Under the constitution a candidate for president should be resident of the country for at least 10 years]. So paano nakarating dun ‘yung mahistrado ng korte suprema na 10 years and 11 months samantalang [So how did the SC magistrate arrive at the conclusion that Poe has been a resident of the country for 10 years and 111 months when] from her own admission and her own claim, six years and six months lang siya [she has been a resident of the country for six years and six months]by the time she came here to run for the senate. Nadagdagan noong [The number of years as resident would increase from] 2013 up to May 8,” he added.
“Nabasa ko sa balita quoting Justice Perez na [I read in the news, quoting Justice Perez, that] on the basis of the probability, natural born citizen daw si Grace Poe [Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen]. The law requires a fact, not a probability. Otherwise, ang dapat na nasa constitution natin ay [our constitution should have provided]: ‘No person may be elected President unless he is ‘probably’ a natural Filipino citizen’,” Tatad told members of the media.
“Let us remember that the Supreme Court is a [trier]of law, it’s not a [trier]of probabilities. It is a [trier]of facts. The law requires not a probability but a fact. ‘Di pa nangyayari sa kasaysayan natin na nag-release ng boto ang Supreme Court na hindi pinaliwanag, ay pinakita sa atin [Never in our history has the SC released the voting results without explaining, without showing the text of the decision]. It’s not enough that justice should be done. Justice must be seen to be done. At this point, the Supreme Court justices are suspects of wrongdoing,” Tatad noted.
He also criticized the SC for allegedly giving special treatment to Poe while there are also other petitioners who sought to contest the Comelec’s decisions to disqualify them.
“Yung Comelec nag-rule na disqualify siya. Kanselado ang kaniyang COC. Siya lamang ang pumunta ng Supreme Court na inasikaso ng Korte Suprema [The Comelec ruled that she was disqualified. It cancelled her COC. She was the only one who went to the Supreme Court and was accommodated] There are more than 105 Filipinos na nag-file for presidency [who filed COCs for the presidency]. Lahat ‘yan they [All of them] comply [with]all the constitutional requirements. Some of them appealed to the Supreme Court.
Minute resolution lang dismissed na agad ‘yung kanilang appeal [Their appeals were immediately dismissed through a minute resolution]. Pano nangyari yun [How did that happen]? You have one person [who], under the constitution, is not qualified. Paano nangyari ang ganitong sitwasyon? [How did this situation happen?]” the former senator asked.
“So ito ang nakakalungkot. Baka magbunga ng hindi maganda ito para sa ating bansa [This is lamentable. This might lead to dire consequences for our country]. I do not expect a peaceful and meaningful election,” he added.