Two election lawyers believe the Comelec should dismiss the DQ cases filed vs Senator Poe

December 1, 2015 10:57 am 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Nov. 30 (PNA) — Two election lawyers believe that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should dismiss all disqualification cases filed against Senator Grace Poe for lack of jurisdiction.

Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes noted that the poll body does not have the mandate to determine the lawmaker’s actual citizenship and residency period so it is just proper to dismiss the petitions to deny due course or cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) against Poe.

“Wala naman ground para i-cancel ang CoC ni Grace Poe. Isa lang ang ground under the law. Hindi citizenship, hindi residency. Ang ground is meron ba siyang sinabi sa CoC niya na kasinungalingan? May false representation? Wala naman siyang sinabing kasinungalingan doon,” he explained.

Brillantes said that in case Poe is proven not a natural-born citizen or is not a resident of the Philippines for 10 years, it is not for the poll body to resolve.

“Ang jurisdiction ng Comelec is hindi to determine citizenship and residency (but) to determine kung nagsinungaling or hindi at kung deliberate and intentional,” he added.

Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that a “verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a CoC may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained in the CoC is false.”

The lawyer noted that a quo warranto petition at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can be filed but only if Poe wins in the presidential race in the May 2016 polls.

“Quo warranto can be determined only kung manalo ka na. Kapag natalo siya, wala nang paga-aralan,” Brillantes said.

For his part, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said that the Comelec should dismiss all disqualification cases as the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) already ruled that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

“Now that the sole constitutional body, the SET, had declared her to be a natural-born Filipino citizen… it could not be said that she made a ‘deliberate attempt to mislead the voters’ of her being a natural-born Filipino citizen,” he said in a statement.

There are four petitions filed before the poll body. The petitioners were former Senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio Contreras, former University of the East (UE) Law Dean Amado Valdez and Atty. Estrella Elamparo. (PNA)

SCS/FGP/EDS

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