Poe’s motion on the decision of the Comelec’s Second Division was deliberated on by the poll body yesterday but it adjourned at around 6:30 p.m. without coming up with a decision. Also tackled by the Comelec en banc was the case of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who intends to substitute for Martin Dino as the standard bearer of PDP-Laban.
Comelec chief Andres Bautista said they are looking at the intricacies surrounding the petitions against the two presidential aspirants and their possible effects to the scheduled release of the final list of candidates on December 15.
“Puwedeng mangyari is that we will already input whatever names that are already final then meron na lang pahabol. ‘Yun ang mga pinag-aaralan natin,” Bautista told reporters who waited for their decision. Bautista said Comelec en bancwill continue their discussions Monday next week.
The Comelec Second Division had earlier disqualified Poe from next year’s presidential elections due to citizenship and residency issues.
Escudero, Poe’s running mate, said he is confident the poll body will reverse the ruling, saying Poe’s camp had submitted pertinent documents that will prove she is qualified to run for president.
“Lahat naman ng kailangang malaman ukol sa residency at citizenship ni Sen. Grace ay nakapaloob na sa motion for reconsideration. I just hope they will decide on the merits of this case because what is at stake here is the impartiality, integrity and credibility of the Comelec,” Escudero said.
Poe’s counsel, George Garcia, had earlier said the three-member Second Division erred and committed grave abuse of discretion when it disqualified her from the presidential race on the ground that she misrepresented the number of years she has been residing in the country.
Garcia’s point was echoed by Escudero, who added he was disappointed with the haste with which the Second Division came up with its decision when it has yet to weed out nuisance bets from the official list of candidates.
“Talagang inuna pa nila si Senator Grace at nagulat kami sa bilis ng naging pasya nila,” Escudero said, adding they intend to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.
“Kung ang naging pasya ng Comelec Second Division ay halos parepareho naman, iisa lang naman ang kanilang pinanggalingan, pinaghugutan, at tila pati na rin ang nag-appoint sa kanila. Kaya malamang sa Korte Suprema na lamang kami aasa,” Escudero said.
Poe supporters who showed up at the Comelec office yesterday urged administration standard Manuel Roxas II to fight fairly instead of trying to have Poe disqualified.
Lastweek, Poe claimed that Roxas and another presidential aspirant, Vice President Jejomar Binay, are behind the moves to disqualify her.
“ Nanawagan ako kay Roxas: Maglaban ng parehas. Kahit marami ang resources niyo, mauubos din ‘yan. Pinakamaganda ang parehas at patas na laban,” said actor Rex Cortez, who heads the Gawad and Prinsipyo coalition backing Poe.
Cortez added that he won’t be surprised if Duterte will be the next target of Roxas’ camp.
“Hindi maintindihan ang strategy nila na may need to eliminate ang mga kalaban para manalo sila. Ngayon Mayor Duterte is number one sa survey. Naghahanda ang camp na ito to eliminate him,” Cortez said.
Poe’s supporters have been trooping to Comelec main office in Intramuros since last week to protest her disqualification.
The Comelec First Division is also hearing the consolidated disqualification cases filed by former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez, former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, and De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras against Poe.
A petition to disqualify filed by Ruben Castor against Duterte is also pending at the Comelec First Division with a hearing set on December 16.
In his petition, Castor claimed that “there is clearly no candidate for president who is withdrawing his candidacy for the same position of president; that there is none that respondent Duterte may replace.”(A.Hachero, Malaya)