Poe expects more cases to be filed against her

THE camp of Senator Grace Poe on Friday said the plot to stop her presidential candidacy will not be confined to questioning her citizenship because they also expect the filing of disqualification cases against her once she files her certificate of candidacy next week.

Poe’s counsel George Garcia said they were gearing up for an extended legal battle against an obvious attempt to exclude Poe’s name from the list of presidential candidates for the May 2016 elections.

He said the disqualification case pending in the Senate Electoral Tribunal was just one of the hurdles that Poe needed to overcome.

Grace Poe

“The attacks against Senator Grace Poe won’t stop at the SET,” Garcia said. He said they expected another disqualification case once Poe files her certificate of candidacy.

“Our reading is that in the end, what they want is to exclude the name of Senator Grace Poe in the ballot because if it’s included, that would really be a problem for our opponents,” Garcia said.

In Cabanatuan City, Senator Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, exuded confidence that Poe will emerge victorious in the disqualification case filed against her, citing a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 that threw out a similar petition against Poe’s adoptive father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.

Escudero noted that in 2004 the high court invoked the popular sovereignty clause when it dismissed a petition to disqualify the elder Poe in that year’s presidential elections.

“The Supreme Court then said: ‘We can’t leave it to the unelected members of this Court to decide on the fate of Fernando Poe Jr. That is best left to the sovereign will of the people’,” Escudero quoted the high court’s decision.

“They voted to dismiss the petition in the 2004 case. There is no reason why the same ruling should not apply now,” he said.

Poe, the topnotcher in the 2013 senatorial race, is facing a disqualification case before the SET on the ground that, as a foundling, she is not a natural-born Filipino and thus barred from sitting as a senator.

The 1987 Constitution provides that only natural-born Filipino citizens are qualified to run for president, vice president, senator or congressman.

Poe, currently the front runner in various presidential preference surveys, is scheduled to file her certificate of candidacy next week alongside with Escudero.

Garcia said they were looking forward to the SET resolving the disqualification case filed by defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David by early November, as that would allow Poe to focus on the more important aspects of her campaign, particularly her platform of government.

He said Poe may find it difficult to campaign if there was a pending question on her qualification to run for president.

“She will have to explain to the people: ‘I’m not disqualified. I’m a natural-born Filipino citizen. I am a resident of this country’,” Garcia said.

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