SENATOR Grace Poe said Thursday the Commission on Elections has no jurisdiction over a petition questioning her qualification to run for President in next year’s elections.
Instead, she said, it is the Department of Justice that has jurisdiction on the case—and in particular the issue on her citizenship.
“The DoJ and not this Honorable Commission has primary jurisdiction to revoke the Bureau of Immigration’s July 18, 2006 Order [that] found Respondent presumptively a former natural-born Filipino and approved her petition for reacquisition of [her] natural-born Filipino citizenship,” Poe said.
She was referring to Immigration’s order saying she was a former citizen of the Philippines, having been born to Filipino parents, and is presumed to be a natural-born Philippine citizen.
Poe on Thursday also said the DNA tests that were supposed to resolve the issue on her citizenship were part of her opponents’ diversionary tactics to frustrate her candidacy.
“What I’m fighting for her is to have the opportunity to serve,” she said.
She said she was running for President to fulfill the dream of her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. who lost the 2004 presidential election. Her camp claims her father was cheated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who won that election.
Poe also said the massive graft and corruption under the Aquino administration was among the main causes of unemployment in the country.
She quoted a recent survey by Social Weather Stations that said the unemployment rate in the third quarter was 23.7 percent, which represented more than 10 million Filipinos.
“There is incongruity between economic growth and unemployment,” Poe said.
Poe said Immigration’s order on her citizenship could only be revoked by the Justice Department upon a substantive finding of fraud, misrepresentation or concealment on the part of the applicant.
“Evidently, the DoJ has the primary jurisdiction or the power to ‘make the initial decision’ to rule whether [my] reacquisition of Filipino citizenship as evidenced by the July 18, 2006 Order was valid,” she said.Her camp said any petition against her should be lodged before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and filed only if she is proclaimed President of the Philippines.