By Ferdinand G. Patinio
MANILA, Dec 7 (PNA) — Although she got a favorable decision on her petition to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for president of Senator Grace Poe, Atty. Estrella Elamparo filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to consider that the lady senator also committed material misrepresentation when she claimed that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
In her 13-page motion filed before the Commission en banc, the Elamparo said the Comelec Second Division erred in not finding Poe to have materially misrepresented herself when she said she was a natural-born Filipino citizen, citing her “pattern of misrepresentation”.
“In sum, there is a clear pattern in respondent’s conduct – she has no qualms misrepresenting her citizenship every now and then to achieve her objectives or to make the shoe fit, so to speak. If despite all these circumstances, which appear on record, she is still afforded the benefit of the doubt, a dangerous precedent will be set,” she said.
The lawyer added, “No case for misrepresentation may ever prosper before the Honorable Commission because all that a respondent has to do is to make a tenuous claim of good faith and the COC will not be cancelled.”
Elamparo also enumerated various instances where the lawmaker misrepresented herself as a natural-born citizen, in her Petition for Retention and/or Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship filed at the Bureau of Immigration; in her Condominium Certificate of Title dated February 2006; and in her Transfer Certificate of Title in June 2006.
She noted that Poe’s camp cannot just keep claiming “honest mistake” as reasons for her “pattern of misrepresentation”.
“We must not lose sight of the basic tenet that ignorance of the law excuses no one… If she will insist on being that ignorant, then why, pray tell, would she have the temerity to run for President,” Elamparo added.
Last week, the Comelec Second Division granted her petition to deny due course to or cancel the CoC of Poe citing her material misrepresentations in her claim to be a natural-born Filipino and to have met the 10-year residency period.
Meanwhile, Poe through her counsel, Atty. George Garcia filed a verified Motion for Reconsideration (MR) also on Monday before the poll body to appeal the decision of the Second Division to deny due course to her CoC.
In a 63-page MR, the lawmaker urged the commission en banc to reverse the decision of the Comelec Second Division, noting that she had no intention to deliberately mislead or misinform the electorate with respect to her period of residency in the Philippines.
“Respondent had no intention to deliberately mislead or misinform the electorate with respect to her period of residency in the Philippines. Her statement in her COC for President with respect to her compliance with the ten-year residency requirement is not even false, as it is amply supported by evidence of Respondent’s actual physical presence in the Philippines since May 24, 2005,” according to the MR.
She also pointed out her intent to reside in the country permanently, and a definite intention to abandon her previous domicile in the United States.
Evidences presented by Poe’s camp include e-mail exchanges on various dates from March 18, 2005 to September 29, 2006 between Poe and/or her husband showing her family’s decision to return and permanently reside in the Philippines; Transcript of Records and Certified Records of her children enrolled in local schools; Identification Card issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in July 2005; Condominium Certificate of Title in San Juan City dated February 2006; Transfer Certificate of Title in Quezon City dated June 2006; and Final Statement issued by First American Title Insurance Company on the selling of their home in the US.
“With due respect to the Second Division, these are not irrelevant pieces of evidence whose omission can be taken lightly. These are precisely the relevant pieces of evidence which the Second Division should have considered in answering the question of whether Respondent effectively established a new domicile in the Philippines—and when—to determine whether her statement in her COC for President as to her period of residency in the Philippines is false,” it said.
“If the Second Division considered these pieces of evidence, it would have found that Respondent’s statement that she will be a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months by May 2016 is not false,” the MR added. (PNA)