SC Justice Leonen designated as ponente in DQ case vs. Sen. Grace Poe

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, Dec. 11 (PNA) — Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen has been designated as the ponente, or the justice who will draft the majority decision, on the disqualification case filed against Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares.

After the raffle held on Thursday, the petition for certiorari filed by Rizalito David against the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and Poe went to Leonen.

Leonen, being the justice ponente is very crucial in the case of Poe, since he will be tasked to make a study and write the recommendation and draft the majority decision in the case.

Earlier, David’s petition to disqualify Poe as a senator in the 2013 elections had been decided in Poe’s favor by the SET with a voting of 5-4. However, the petitioner appealed the decision before the SC.

In a petition for certiorari, David assailed the ruling of the SET declaring Poe as natural-born Filipino “despite the absence of proof of blood ties to a Filipino father or mother.”

David argued that the majority of the SET members have committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring Poe as a natural-born Filipino citizen.

He asked the SC to reverse and declare void the SET majority decision and immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or injunction order which would immediately disqualify Poe.

David also questioned Poe’s reacquisition of her Philippine citizenship which is considered an act which shows that she is a natural-born Filipino after she has applied and declared as a United States citizen.

Poe claimed that she is a “foundling” from Iloilo, adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

She later on migrated to the United States but eventually returned to the Philippines and was elected senator in 2013.

The petitioner also criticized the alleged politicking of the senators in declaring Poe as a natural-born Filipino which is a clear violation of the Lerias doctrine, in which judges were reminded to rule on cases as judges and not as politicians.

David argued that the findings of the minority led by SC Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo D. Brion, along with Senator Nancy Binay was the correct ruling by following the letters of the law.

The majority members of the SET who ruled in favor of Poe were Senators Loren Legarda, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV. (PNA)