MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday denied insinuations that the Liberal Party (LP) has influenced the decision of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to unanimously disqualify Senator Grace Poe from running for president in the 2016.
”There are some people who said that it was influenced by the Liberal Party. That is not true,” Drilon said in an interview.
Drilon said the three Comelec commissioners – Al Parreno, Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas decided “out of their own perception based on the law and facts.”
Drilon said if the LP has intention to disqualify Poe, LP senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV could have voted against Poe in a petition filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to disqualify the lady senator.
”If we have party line, Senator Bam should have followed us. But he voted in favor of Poe. So it is not true that the Comelec decision was influenced by LP,” Drilon explained.
He also said President Benigno Aquino III cannot be faulted that the three Comelec commissioners were all appointees of the President.
”By some stroke of chance, it is the President who appointed but I believe that the Comelec is independent body and their term of office is definite,” Drilon said.
Drilon has advised Poe to file an appeal at the Comelec en banc and eventually to the Supreme Court (SC).
”It is important this case should be decided immediately by the Supreme Court. They should cancel their Christmas break for this because the future of this country is at stake here,” Drilon said.
Drilon said if the SC will decide in favor of Poe and the name of the lady solon was not included in the Comelec list of presidential candidates, “that would be a big problem.”
Meanwhile, the camp of opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay also denied allusion that Binay has something to do with decision of his known ally former Senator Francisco Tatad to file separate disqualification case against Poe.
”The UNA, as a matter of principle and as the party of the accredited political opposition, upholds and respects due process and the rule of law. UNA is not in any position nor is it inclined to influence the deliberations, decisions and rulings of constitutionally mandated institutions,” UNA vice presidential candidate Senator Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan II said in a press statement.