Sen. Grace Poe is free to file her COC despite pending case before the SET –Comelec

MANILA, Sept. 29 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has said that Senator Grace Poe is free to file her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) to run for president in the May 2016 polls despite a disqualification case filed against her before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that the lady lawmaker can file her COC from Oct. 12 to 16.

“Kung mag-file siya ng COC for another position (aside from senator), then it will be the Comelec that will have primary jurisdiction… Sa aking palagay, hindi makakaapekto yung (SET case) per se,” he said.

Bautista added, “Yung pagtanggap ng COC is ministerial on the part of the Comelec.”

Earlier, former senatorial bet Rizalito David filed a disqualification case against Poe before the SET, questioning the latter’s qualifications as an elected senator in 2013 for not being a natural-born Filipino.

The SET is expected to decide on Poe’s disqualification case by November.

Last August, David also filed an election offense case before the Comelec Law Department for material misrepresentation in Poe’s COC, particularly concerning her citizenship, period of residence, and eligibility to run for senator.

Bautista noted that the Law Department believes that they should allow first the SET to decide on the said case.

“Tiyak na, na-proclaim na siya as a senator e, in which case, the jurisdiction now belongs to SET in her capacity as a senator,” he said.

The poll body chief noted that the Law Department’s recommendation does not mean that they are looking to junk the case filed by David.

“At this point, pinag-aaralan pa ng Comelec en banc kung ano ang gagawin but, at the same time, yun ang naging recommendation ng Law Department,” Bautista explained.

Poe declared her plan to run for president in the May 2016 national elections earlier this month. (PNA)