MANILA—None of Sen. Grace Poe’s rivals in the 2016 election pressured Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials to disqualify the senator from running in next year’s election, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said.
“When we were appointed (to the Comelec), our obligations are to the people. We are grateful to the Filipino people (for this opportunity to serve),” Bautista was quoted as saying in a Philippine Star report. “No pressure whatsoever,” he added.
Poe’s supporters accused the commissioners of the poll body of disqualifying Poe in favor of Liberal Party’s presidential bet, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
Bautista and Comelec commissioners Sheriff Abas, Rowena Guanzon, Luie Guia, Arthur Lim, Christian Robert Lim and Al Parreño were all appointed by President Benigno Aquino III, who has endorsed his party-mate Mar Roxas for president.
Abas, Arthur Lim and Parreño were the member of the Comelec Second Division who disqualified Poe due to her failure to meet the 10-year residency requirement for those running for a position in the executive branch.
Despite the dominance of the Liberal Party in Comelec, George Garcia, Poe’s lawyer is confident that the poll body would eventually rule in Poe’s favor as they file a motion for reconsideration on Monday.
“We believe that the three members of the Second Division will change their minds. We believe that under the leadership of Chairman Bautista, the Comelec en banc will be able to issue a fair and just ruling,” Garcia was quoted as saying in the same report.
Garcia did not see any problem with the fact that the commissioners ruling on Poe’s case are Aquino appointees.
“Their loyalty to the President or the appointing authority ends where their loyalty to this country begins,” he said.