Philippine Supreme Court asked to junk Poe appeal

Philippine Supreme Court asked to junk Poe appeal
Sen. Grace Poe.
PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to throw out the petitions of Sen. Grace Poe asking the high court to reverse the poll body's decision disqualifying Poe from the 2016 presidential race.

In its answer to Poe's two petitions challenging the Comelec's disqualification resolutions, the Comelec said it was only right that Poe be disqualified, citing her "deliberate" attempt to mislead the electorate by declaring herself a natural-born Filipino and a 10-year resident prior to the 2016 elections, two of the "material qualifications for the elective position of President."

Poe ran to the Supreme Court on Dec. 28, asking the high court to stop the Comelec from canceling her certificate of candidacy (COC) for President after poll body's First and Second Divisions granted four petitions for her disqualification, which the Comelec en banc upheld. She secured a temporary restraining order on the same day.

"Petitioner committed material misrepresentation in her certificate of candidacy for President when she stated therein, under oath, that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has complied with the 10-year residency requirement," the Comelec comment read.

Poe deliberately tried to deceive the electorate that she is qualified to run for President, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon later told reporters at the Supreme Court.

"[W]e are submitting that her COC is cancelled for the reason that she committed material representation. She deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate," Guanzon said.

"She is not natural-born and she has not satisfied the 10-year residency requirement, as she put in her COC," she said.

The popular tale is that Poe was found as an infant in a church in Jaro, Iloilo province, in 1968, and was later adopted by the movie star couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

Poe acquired American citizenship in October 2001, 10 years after marrying Filipino-American citizen Neil Llamanzares. She reacquired her Philippine citizenship five years later and, in 2010, renounced her US citizenship upon her appointment as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

The Comelec said it did not commit grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying Poe, as the latter alleged in her petitions, as there was sufficient basis to cancel her COC.

Poe, it said, could not prove that her biological parents, still currently unknown, are Filipino. This therefore excluded her from the coverage of the definition of a natural-born citizen under the 1935 Constitution, under which she falls, having been born in 1968.

"Unless petitioner can show that a foundling with no known parentage or definitive blood relationship is an exception to the requirement of jus sanguinis (right of blood), her claim that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines does not stand," the Comelec said.

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