Macon Ramos Araneta
LESS than a day after Senator Grace Poe filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the presidency, a lawyer filed a disqualification case against her before the Commission on Elections, alleging that she failed to comply with the citizenship and residency requirements
“I believe that as a registered voter, as a Filipino and as a lawyer, it is my duty to ensure that somebody who is not qualified under our Constitution to run should not be allowed to run for the highest position of the land,” said Estrella Elamparo, after filing her petition at the Comelec.
In addition, Elamparo said Poe’s period of stay in the United States when she was still an American citizen cannot be counted as part of her residency in the Philippines, which should start on her return to the country in July 2006 after she reacquired her Philippine citizenship.
“With the foregoing, it is now clear that respondent will not be eligible to run for President due to her failure to comply with the 10-year residency requirement under the Constitution,” Elamparo said.
Poe on Friday waved aside the new disqualification complaint—the second filed against her—as another desperate move to stop her from running for President and “to subvert the will of the people.”
Her lawyer, George Garcia, said they “totally expected” and prepared for another complaint.
“We know who are the people behind this and their evil plans,” he added.
“We will fight them to the end, armed only with the law, reason and the truth,” Garcia said. “Our faith in the Comelec and the collective wisdom of its members is unparalleled. We assure our supporters and the Filipino people that justice will prevail and we will emerge victorious in this fight.”
Rizalito David, a losing senatorial candidate in the 2013 elections, earlier filed a disqualification complaint against Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Comelec.
David argued that being a foundling, Poe was not a natural born Filipino citizen, and therefore should be expelled from the Senate.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokeman, said he believed somebody was behind the new petition against Poe.
“These harassments are not random occurrences. One thing [is] for sure, we will answer these allegations squarely in the proper forum. We will face it head on because the law is behind us. We know the truth is behind us,” he said.
Poe’s camp also denied allegations that the supporters who showed up when she and her running mate Senator Francis Escudero filed their COCs were paid to be there.
“The massive crowd outside the Comelec was a spontaneous gathering of supporters eager to send off Senator Poe and Senator Escudero as they filed their certificates of candidacies,” Gatchalian said.
Don Remo of the Adopt Grace Poe Movement said the crowd was composed of groups coming from different parts of the country that wanted to show support for Poe and Escudero.
“Some supporters distributed food they could share to other supporters but there was definitely no money involved as Senators Poe and Escudero would not have tolerated that,” Remo said.
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