MANY are afraid the Senate Electoral Tribunal will declare Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares not a natural-born Filipino and therefore not eligible under the Constitution to sit in the Senate or seek the presidency. The SET chairman, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, has already said so. Carpio has not ruled for the SET, but the ruling when it comes, unless politicized by the senator-judges, cannot possibly be much different from his statement. Yet the promoters of Mrs. Llamanzares’s unconstitutional candidacy seem unfazed by this distinct probability. They seem to believe that with their power and money they could put her name on the ballot before the Supreme Court rules her ineligible for the office. Then supported by all the fraudulent surveys, and the rigged voting machines, all they have to do is shout, “vox populi, vox Dei!” (the voice of the people is the voice of God!”
Both Mrs. Llamanzares and her intended running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, already gave us a foretaste, a preview of it when they announced their bid for president and vice president respectively, by invoking the grace of God to bless a constitutionally abhorrent act. Escudero went one step further by invoking the blessing of the Virgin Mary, whom Catholics revere as “the Mother of the Son of God” in an apparent effort to identify with the vast Catholic majority whose fight for human life, the family and their right to practice their faith without the intervention of the apostate Aquino government has never enjoyed his support.
“Vox populi, vox Dei” is a legitimate and rightful cry by a people who believe in God and would like to do the will of God, in the face of powerful obstacles. The cries of the Israelites against the Pharaoh in the Old Testament expressed the voice of God, while the cries of the same people for carnal pleasures as they worshipped the golden calf expressed their rebellion against God. The “stiff-necked people” who insisted on divorcing their spouses despite the prohibition of the Mosaic law expressed the same rebellion against God; so with the mob that called for our Lord’s crucifixion in Pilate’s court. In our time, the expression has been used as a political mantra by demagogues who did not believe either in “the people” or in God.
This is what we are promised by the promoters of Mrs. Llamanzares. Sources claiming an inside track on the group’s political planning predict the following scenario:
1) As soon as the SET rules that Mrs. Llamanzares is not a Filipino, (this should ideally happen before the filing of certificates of candidacy for 2016), she will “appeal” the ruling to the Supreme Court. This should temporarily put on hold her being unseated from the Senate. Strictly speaking, there is no appeal from the ruling of the SET; as petitioner’s counsel Manuelito Luna explains it, the SET is the sole authority on the Llamanzares issue; but the losing party could file a petition for certiorari before the High Court, if there is a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the SET. With three SC justices providing constitutional guidance to the six other senator-judges, a grave abuse of discretion is not likely to arise. There seems a greater possibility of some of the six senator-judges politicizing what is strictly a constitutional issue—-that is what would constitute a grave abuse of discretion.
2) While the case awaits the final decision of the High Court, she will file her certificate of candidacy for president before the Commission on Elections.
3) If as happened in the 2013 elections the Comelec does not require a birth certificate, which proves conclusively that she is a natural-born Filipino, or if the Comelec accepts as authentic and valid her heavily intercalated certificate of live birth dated Nov. 27, 1968, which classifies her as a foundling, but says she was adopted by the spouses Ronald Allan Poe and Jesusa Sonora Poe on May 13, 1974 in a decision penned by a municipal judge who had no jurisdiction over adoption cases, or if the Comelec accepts the other certificate of live birth dated May 4, 2006, which contradicts the first one, as executed by her surrogate mother, the childless Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe, who says the foundling was born to her in Jaro, Iloilo City on Sept. 3, 1968, four months before she married her husband Ronald Allan Poe, in Valenzuela, Bulacan, and there is no opposition from any source, then Mrs. Llamanzares could become a presidential candidate.
4) But the candidacy is certain to be opposed. In this instance, the Comelec will have to take judicial notice of the SET ruling, or oppositors could attach a copy of the ruling to their petition opposing her candidacy. Whether the Comelec approves or rejects her certificate of candidacy, the losing party is certain to file a petition for certiorari, pursuant to Rule 64, in relation to 65 of the Rules of Court.
5) If the Comelec accepts her candidacy, and the Supreme Court fails to act on her proposed disqualification before the printing of the official ballots, or fails to restrain the Comelec from putting her name on the ballot, her camp will do everything to make sure that the final decision on her candidacy comes after the balloting and counting of the votes. The public will then be swamped with propaganda surveys showing her to be the “most popular” candidate, the same means employed in the 2010 and 2013 rigged elections will be used to ensure the predetermined election result, and whatever the Court finally says about constitutional ineligibility to run, the Llamanzares camp, the rented mobs, the conscript media and the paid propaganda surveys will say, “the people have spoken”–“vox populi, vox Dei!” (the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Even President B. S. Aquino 3rd, who says we should set aside the constitutional issues and let “the people” decide, is likely to say this. They will threaten civil unrest.
6) This is the pipe dream of the anti-constitutional forces behind Mrs. Llamanzares, who are blinded by their own ambition, power and money. The CEO of one conglomerate, who appears to be on a first name basis with PNoy and the members of his Cabinet, and who appears to be providing the logistical requirements for the Llamanzares pre-campaign, seems to give the impression that he could get some SC justices follow his reading of the Constitution, and one bloc-voting religious group to deliver its votes to his chosen candidate.
Just how plausible is this scenario? How easy is it to outsmart and overwhelm the Constitution and the rule of law, and over 100 million Filipinos? I have very serious reservations.
The solemn oath that a president-elect takes before the nation upon assuming office is to “faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself` to the service of the Nation. So help me God.” A venal president may eventually betray this oath, but no one seeks the presidency by setting aside the Constitution, and saying the only thing that matters is one’s alleged popularity. Even if Mrs. Llamanzares’s alleged popularity turns out to be real, she cannot be an exception to this iron rule.
If the SET formally declares her to be not a natural-born Filipino, and therefore not eligible to sit in the Senate, she cannot simply ignore the ruling and run for president, a position limited to natural-born Filipinos only. Unless the Supreme Court restrains the enforcement of the SET resolution, it will become final and executory after 15 days. Mrs. Llamanzares will be unseated from the Senate after that period. For its part, the Comelec will have to take judicial notice of the SET resolution, especially if petitions seeking her disqualification carry a copy of the ruling. She will have to go up to the Supreme Court on certiorari, but unless the Court acts favorably and seasonably on her petition, her name will not be listed on the ballot, so there will be no chance for her “vox populi, vox Dei.”
Now, suppose both the Comelec and the High Court should succumb, and we, the people, do not reject the farce, will it not be the end of our constitutional democracy? For whatever propaganda survey ratings and electronic votes are manufactured in Mrs. Llamanzares’s favor, that will not make her a natural-born Filipino, and therefore constitutionally eligible either for the Senate or for the presidency. It will be a travesty, the complete destruction of the very concept of our sovereignty.
Will over 100 million Filipinos allow it? Will the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as the constitutional protector of the people and state, whose goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and its territorial integrity, stand for it?
I am a senior citizen who has had his share of difficult and lost causes, but I will not stand for it. I know many other seniors like me who will not vstand for it. And I know of many young people who are not easily distracted by patriotic causes, but who will not stand for it. They are not intimidated by the possible civil unrest which the promoters of Mrs. Llamanzares threaten to inflict upon us if she does become president, but they are not prepared to imagine the kind of disorder and chaos that could engulf the nation if we submit to her ungodly bid. We could be digging our own mass grave if we do.