FORMER Senator Francisco Tatad will file on Monday another disqualification complaint at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against Sen. Grace Poe, one of several candidates aspiring for the presidency.
Poe, who filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) last week, is also facing a disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) filed by Rizalito David.
According to Tatad, his filing of the petition is pursuant to Comelec rules, which state that disqualification of candidates may be filed after the deadline of the filing of COC.
The filing of COC ended on Friday, October 16.
Tatad maintained that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino, thus, she is not qualified to seek the highest post in the country.
“One seeking the presidency should be constitutionally qualified, and there are no ifs and buts in this. Being not a natural-born Filipino citizen and for failing to meet the minimum residency qualification, respondent [Poe] should be disqualified from running for President, lest the commission will countenance a grievous violation,” he said in his petition that will be filed at the poll body this morning.
“The presidency, just like other high offices, cannot be held or occupied by one short of qualifications. Dura lex sed lex,” Tatad added.
The former senator will be assisted by lawyer Manuelito Luna, who is the counsel on record in the quo warranto petition to disqualify Poe pending before the electoral tribunal.
Tatad noted that his petition is purely constitutional as he maintained that Poe, an independent presidential candidate, is not even legally a Filipino citizen.
The Constitution clearly states that “no person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election,” he said.
Poe was adopted by the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces after she was found abandoned inside a church in Iloilo province. Her biological parents remain unknown.
She migrated to United States and become an American citizen but returned to the country when her father ran for President in 2004.
She then renounced her US citizenship before she took over the Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB) in 2010.
Poe’s camp earlier noted that while the citizenship of a senator may be questioned at any time, such rule only applies if that senator changed her citizenship after being proclaimed as a senator, or if she concealed her foreign citizenship when she filed her COC.
According to the senator’s camp, such is not the case for Poe because she did not change her citizenship after she was proclaimed and she never concealed anything regarding her life and background.
Poe’s lawyers also pointed out that those who believe that a foundling is not a natural-born Filipino should have filed a petition against Poe within 10 days after she was proclaimed as senator.