Comelec Second Division cancels Poe’s CoC for president

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division has cancelled the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe for the May 2016 elections for material misrepresentation.

In a 34-page decision, the Second Division headed by Comelec Commissioner Al Parreno noted that Poe did not give true information in her CoC, particularly her citizenship and the 10-year residency requirement.

“Respondent’s representations as to her citizenship and period of residency in the Philippines are both on a material matter and both false,” said the ruling.

It added, “Wherefore, in view of the foregoing considerations, the instant petition to deny due course to or cancel the CoC is hereby granted. Accordingly, the CoC for President in the May 9, 2016 elections filed by respondent, Mary Grace Natividad Poe Llamanzares is hereby cancelled.”

The poll body noted that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead when the lawmaker stated in her CoC for next year’s elections that she’s been living in the country for 10 years and 11 months.

“Respondent deliberately attempted to mislead or misinform the electorate or hide a fact from them when she supplied the ’10 years and 11 months’, to the question in Item No. 7 of her CoC,” the decision said.

It added, “In short, the declaration of ’10 years and 11 months’ in her present CoC for President was intended to hide the fact earlier stated under oath in her 2013 CoC for Senator that she had actually resided in the Philippines since November 2006. In her present CoC for President, she made it appear that she has been a Philippine resident since May 2006 so as to meet the residency requirement of 10 years for said office.”

The Second Division said that based on Poe’s CoC in the 2013 polls, when she ran for senator, her residency in the country is only nine years and six months up to the May 9, 2016.

On the citizenship issue, the Comelec said that the senator failed to prove that she is indeed a natural-born citizen.

“Even if the wordings of (international) conventions are deemed to have declared that a foundling found in the Philippines is a natural-born Filipino citizen, these international conventions cannot supplant or override the Constitution, which requires a bloodline to a Filipino parent to confer the status of being a natural-born Filipino citizen,” the decision said.

It added, “Consequently, it stands to reason that respondent’s claim in her subject CoC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen is false.”

Aside from Parreno, the Division is composed of Commissioners Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas. The petition to deny due course and cancel Poe’s CoC was filed by Atty. Estrella Elamparo.

Meanwhile, Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia said they were surprised by the ruling of the Second Division, adding that they will be filing a Motion for Reconsideration.

“We are caught unaware na ilalabas ang decision ngayon araw na ito. But definitely we will be filing an MR with the Comelec en banc,” he said.

Aside from the petition of Elamparo, there are three other disqualification cases against Poe at the Comelec.

The petitions were filed by former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, and De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio Contreras. (PNA)