MANILA—Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Friday lashed out at the lawyer of one of the petitioners in the disqualification case against presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe for saying that Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno had misplaced sympathy for foundlings.
Escudero, a lawyer, advised former Sen. Francisco Tatad’s counsel Manuelito Luna to “get a better grasp of the finer tenets of the law in administering equity and equality.”
Contrary to the Luna’s argument, Escudero said Sereno’s statement on the injustice that could be done to foundlings should one of them is barred from holding public office on the premise that she is not a natural-born Filipino was “not misplaced and not based on untested theory.”
“Has he (Luna) ever heard of equity is equality in law? That equity should grant relief to persons who are going through hardships which are not of their doing,” Escudero, Poe’s running mate in the May elections, said.
Luna earlier criticized Sereno for what he regarded as “misplaced sympathy for foundlings and the untested theory” she had based her observations on with regard to Poe’s case.
Poe had petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse two decisions of the Commission on Elections canceling her certificate of candidacy for president allegedly due to “material misrepresentations” in her citizenship and residency.
The poll body upheld four petitions claiming that Poe, being a foundling, is not a natural-born citizen and failed to comply with the 10-year residency requirement in the Constitution for her to qualify as a candidate for president.
But during the oral arguments on Poe’s petitions, Sereno took note of the “profound impact that a ruling against Poe would have on the natural-born status of foundlings.”
Luna argued that Sereno had no basis for saying that Poe and similarly-situated foundlings like her are being discriminated upon and maintained that he would assert the provisions of the 1934 Constitution, which states that foundlings are not considered natural-born citizens.
He added that the 1934 Constitution, which covers Poe since she was born in 1968, did not support Sereno’s theory on foundlings.
“I dare say that Luna has his own ‘misplaced’ interpretation of the law. What the Chief Justice was saying was when the law, or in this case the 1935 Constitution, discriminates, the High Tribunal should qualify and put things in proper perspective,” Escudero pointed out.