MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) was asked on Friday to reverse its decision that set aside the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) En Banc, which disqualified Senator Grace Poe to run for president in the May 9, 2016 elections.
In a joint motion for reconsideration (MR), petitioners Atty. Estrella Elamparo, former Senator Francisco “Kit” S. Tatad, former University of the East (UE) College of Law Dean Amado Valdez and Dela Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio Cabrera asked the SC to reconsider its decision and dismissed the petitions of Poe for lack of merit.
They also asked the SC to affirm the decision of the Comelec that nullified the certificate of candidacy (COC) for president of Poe over questions on her citizenship and residency.
They argued that the SC ruling favoring Poe was a “perversion of the Constitution.”
Last March 8, the SC En Banc ruled that Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares is qualified to run for president in the May 9, 2016 elections.
Nine justices voted in favor of and six justices voted against granting the consolidated petitions of Poe, which assailed the decision of the Comelec En Banc that nullified her COC for president in the May 9 elections.
Those who voted to grant the petition are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno and Associate Justices Jose P. Perez, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Lucas P. Bersamin, Diosdado M. Peralta, Jose P. Mendoza, Francis H. Jardeleza, Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa and Mariano C. Del Castillo.
Those who voted to deny the petition are Senior Associate Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo D. Brion and Antonio T. Carpio, and Associate Justices Bienvenido L. Reyes, Marvic Leonen and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.
In a 47-page decision, the SC declared that Poe is a natural-born Filipino and also complied with the residency requirement to run for president in the May 9 elections.
With a 9-6 vote, the SC reversed the decision of the Comelec which cancelled the COC for president of Poe in the May 9 elections.
The SC said that the Comelec has committed “grave abuse of discretion” in the decision it rendered.
According to the SC, the pieces of evidence are more than sufficient to believe that Poe is a natural-born citizen.
The SC said that the issue should not focus on who were the parents of Poe such that their identities were not established, but rather, were her parents Filipinos.
If the basis will be the statistics presented by the Solicitor General as well as the circumstancial evidence presented by Poe, the SC said, there’s a big possibility to say that the parents of the senator were Filipinos.
Among the circumstancial evidende pointed out by the SC were that Poe was abandoned when she was just a baby in a church in Iloilo City, where majority of the population are Filipinos, as well as her physical trait which is typical in a Filipino such as the straight black hair, almond-shaped eyes and oval face.
The SC said that the private respondents or those who pursued the cancellation of Poe’s COC have the responsibility to prove that the parents of Poe were foreigners.
On the issue of residency, the SC was convinced that Poe was telling the truth when she declared in her COC that she shall have been a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months come the eve of the May 9, 2016 elections.
The SC believes that the change of domicile by Poe began on May 24, 2005 when she returned to the Philippines and decided to leave the United States as their residency.
The SC also gave weight on the pieces of evidence presented by Poe proving that they already decided to reside again in the Philippines, including the email correspondence or exchange of messages in the email from March 2005 to September 2006 in a freight company for the shipment of their belongings from the United States to the Philippines; the enrolment of their children in a school in the Philippines and the tax declaration.