MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec), which stands as a public respondent, was grilled by the Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday on the third day of the oral arguments on the case filed by Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares pertaining to the cancellation by the Comelec of her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in the May 9, 2016 elections.
Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Arthur Lim presented arguments for the Comelec, but Lim was put under interpellation.
Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo, the ponente in the case, fielded the first question.
Del Castillo asked the opinion of the Comelec whether it has the competence to decide on the issue of citizenship such that why it did not just let the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) handle the “quo warranto” proceedings.
Lim replied that the SC itself, in its earlier decisions, declared that the Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), which was made as basis in the cancellation of Poe’s COC, has similarities with “quo warranto” proceedings because of the issue of eligibility.
He pointed out that the Comelec merely decided on the “material misrepresentation”.
However, Del Castillo noted that it is stated in the decision of the Comelec that Poe is not natural born and for the magistrate, this is a legal issue that will be better decided upon through quo warranto proceedings.
Del Castillo asked Lim on why the Comelec did not consider as a starting point to establish the domicile of Poe in the Philippines the date of May 24, 2005, when in fact, she even enrolled her children in the schools in the Philippines, purchased a property and even registered as a voter.
He interpellated that whether such actions were sufficient basis of residency.
Lim replied that during those time, Poe has not yet renounced her US Citizenship.