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RP CAN'T HAVE AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT, WARNS LEGAL SCHOLAR DEAN VALDEZ


JANUARY 12 -DEAN VALDEZ, POE
A chief executive with an allegiance to a foreign power looms if Sen. Grace Poe prevails, legal scholar Dean Amado Valdez cautioned the Supreme Court yesterday. Former University of the East Law Dean Valdez sought the dismissal of the petitions filed by Senator Poe to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from ordering the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the May 9 elections. In a 71-page comment, Valdez said that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it granted his and several other petitions seeking Poe’s exclusion in the presidential race for failure to meet the 10-year residency requirement and for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen. In answer to Poe’s petition before the High Court, Valdez said “the Comelec acted with fairness, justice and sense of duty according to the urgency of the circumstances” when it canceled Poe’s CoC. “The hearing at the Comelec was characterized by liberality in the submission of evidence and oral presentation. There was an orderly conduct of proceedings, a neutral determination of evidence which was solely submitted by petitioner Poe, and an objective application of the law and jurisprudence.”  “The issues were argued and tested freely in a soul-searching debate by and among the petitioner, private respondent, and the honorable commissioners in open hearing as well as in the Comelec’s internal exchanges in official sessions,” Valdez said. Poe insists that she is a natural-born Filipino under the 1935 Constitution and under customary international laws. She also claims that that she will satisfy the 10-year minimum residency requirement on election day this year. Valdez argued that contrary to Poe’s claim, she cannot reacquire natural-born Philippine citizenship under Republic Act 9225 or the Re-acquisition Act of 2003 assuming that she could prove that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen. The constitutionalist noted that the 1987 Constitution, in defining who a natural-born citizen is, clearly used the phrase citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. He noted even the terms used in R.A. 9225, which was enacted two years after, were in keeping with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, without specifically mentioning the reacquisition of “natural-born” status when allowing former Filipino citizens to reacquire their Philippine citizenship. “This fact is intentionally ignored by petitioner who claims to have renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001, assuming that she could prove her natural born status, and reacquired it in 2006 under R.A. 9225.  “As worded, there is no clear authority under R.A. 9225 to allow her to reacquire the same status after renouncing her Filipino citizenship,” Valdez said. “Her material representation, therefore, in her CoC that she is a natural-born citizen, is false because it is not in accord with the facts in the light of the law and jurisprudence,” Valdez added. Valdez was one of the petitioners in the Comelec who sought the cancelation of Poe’s certificate of candidacy (CoC) for president. His petition was consolidated with the separate petitions filed by former Senate Francisco “Kit” Tatad and De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras. Another separate petition was filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo. READ MORE...RELATED,
Poe’s bid to get back into race a threat to country’s ‘health’ – DLSU prof ...

ALSO: Comelec defends DQ ruling on Poe


JANUARY 12 -POLL EXEC IN SPOTLIGHT Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon makes her way to the office of Comelec Chair Andres Bautista for a meeting, following reports of “infighting” in the poll body after Bautista said Guanzon had filed in the Supreme Court an unauthorized comment on pleadings of Sen. Grace Poe to overturn the disqualification decision against her run for the presidency. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ 
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Monday defended its decision to cancel Sen. Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) after finding out that she was not a natural-born Filipino citizen and had failed to comply with the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates explicitly required under the Constitution. In a 48-page comment on Poe’s certiorari suit against the Comelec ruling, the poll body said it “hewed closely to constitutional and legal parameters and applicable jurisprudence” in reaching its decision against the senator. Poe’s suit questioned the Comelec decision granting the petition filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo to cancel Poe’s COC. The poll body made a similar decision in the case filed by a group led by former Sen. Francisco Tatad, which Poe is also questioning in the high court. The comment, signed by all Comelec commissioners indicating their approval or dissent in the original decision against Poe, was in response to Poe’s suit against the Elamparo case. The Comelec has yet to comment on Poe’s suit stemming from the Tatad case. “The Comelec oppressed nobody when it rendered the assailed resolution, [which has] been promulgated in a justiciable case and sets forth therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the constitutional provisions, law and applicable jurisprudence on which it is based. It that sense, it speaks for itself,” the poll body said. It added that the decision against Poe merely ensured that those seeking the presidency must be compliant with the eligibility requirements prescribed in the Constitution and that the Comelec was only fulfilling its mandate to implement those requirements. Bounden duty “To disqualify the petitioner who is reportedly among the front-runners in the 2016 presidential race is not an easy task, to say the least. But the Comelec will not shirk its bounden duty and constitutional mandate to conduct clean, orderly, honest and credible elections. An essential ingredient of orderly and credible elections is for Comelec to ensure that candidates comply with the eligibility requirements mandated by the Constitution, without fear or favor,” it said. The Comelec reiterated that it was not legally bound to take judicial notice of and apply the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) recognizing Poe’s natural-born status. The poll body insisted that it had correctly ruled that Poe failed to prove that she was a Philippine citizen by blood and that the 1935 Constitution and international human rights instruments did not vest on foundlings like her a natural-born status. READ MORE... RELATED,
Feuding Comelec execs forgo fireworks; skipped face-to-face encounter...AND  Comelec en banc on controversies: All’s well that ends well... ALSO, Ex-Comelec chief on Bautista, Guanzon rift: Don’t make it public...

ALSO: SC affirms TRO vs Poe's disqualification


JANUARY 12 -The Supreme Court earlier issued a temporary restraining order against the Commission on Election's decision to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, file MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ruled to affirm the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the disqualification cases against Sen. Grace Poe. Voting 12-3, the SC en banc affirmed the two TROs issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in favor of the presidential candidate. SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that oral arguments are scheduled on January 19. The high court also ruled to consolidate Poe's petitions against the disqualification cases against her before the Commission on Elections (Comelec). On Dec. 28, 2015, the SC ordered the Comelec to temporarily stop enforcing its ruling to cancel Poe's certificate of candidacy for president. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Guanzon - Bautisa biased for Poe


JANUARY 12 -Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Amelia Guanzon was still hopping mad yesterday morning as she called polls body chief Andres Bautista being biased in favor of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe who was previously disqualified by the two divisions of the Comelec and the en banc majority from the May 9 presidential race. The Comelec also yesterday filed its second report handled by poll commissioner Arthur Lim of the second division Monday, asking the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss a second petition from Senator Poe challenging the poll body’s ruling that granted a disqualification case against her by lawyer Estrella Elamparo. In a series of postings in her official social media account, Guanzon chided Bautista for appearing to be an ally and a co-conspirator of Poe and her vice presidential candidate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, along with her spokesman, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, both of whom act as the defenders of Bautista. “In only two days after the issue concerning the memorandum which was leaked, Bautista had never made any (statement) after I answered back. Is he hiding anything?” Guanzon said. “And how unusual coincidentally that Gatchalian, Poe and Chiz are now speaking for Bautista. Are they comrades? “ she added. Guanzon also implied that Bautista appeared to have intended to derail the process of disqualifying Poe. Bautista met with commissioners 3 times “Bautista thrice met the Commissioners to insist we consolidate all of Grace Poe cases. He voted in her favor. Grace Poe lost. He delayed issuance of the Resolution until December 23,” she said. Guanzon challenged Bautista to leak as well the minutes of the Commission’s deliberation of the said case. “This is my challenge to Chairman Bautista: Let us open all the records and minutes of the Commission to show the public how Commission members, in the spirit of transparency, acted in the discharge of their functions. And let the public decide who among us genuinely live up to the ideals of integrity in public service,” she asserted. The word war between Guanzon and Bautista is rooted in a leakage of a memorandum from the Chairman demanding that Guanzon reply to his memorandum on 24 hours and why she filed a comment before the SC without his having read or signed it, stating that there was disrespect from Guanzon for him and that he felt insulted by the lady Commissioner’s effort to write the Comelec’s comment regarding its ruling to cancel Poe’s candidacy. Guanzon also explained that her act of writing the poll body’s comment before the Supreme Court was done to meet the High Court’s deadline of 10 days. Although Bautista requested for an extension, the Supreme Court has yet to grant or deny such prayer. “Who told Bautista that SC will allow the filing of comment on January 12? Does he have an informant? There is no SC order granting any extension to file the comment,” she said. “(Bautista) should name his informants for the sake of transparency and truth. If he won’t, is he intending to delay the process so that we can’t file the Comelec’s comment on time?” the feisty Guanzon stressed. Bautista, who met Guanzon in yesterday’s executive en banc session, for his part, briefly told reporters in a chance interview that his relationship with Guanzon remains “professional”. The Comelec chairman appears to show that he blames the media for highlighting the memo leakage. READ MORE...

ALSO: Latest survey - Binay pulls away; Chiz, Bongbong statistically tied for VP: SWS


JANUARY 15 -Vice-President Jejomar Binay is now the top presidential contender for the 2016 elections, with three other presidential bets statistically tied for second place, the latest Businessworld-Social Weather Stations survey revealed. The survey, conducted last January 8-10 with 1,200 validated voters nationwide, showed 31 percent of respondents choosing Binay as their likely choice for president if elections were held today. The survey has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The latest survey result shows Binay topping the current crop of presidential bets. He was previously tied at first place with Sen. Grace Poe after both got 26 percent support from voters last December. "The Vice President is humbled by the people's trust in his capability to lead our country. It will encourage him to work harder in order to demonstrate his actions to uplift our people's lives, fight poverty and provide employment," said Atty. Rico Quicho, vice presidential spokesperson for political affairs. "He will continue to emphasize that our country needs an experienced and competent leader to work for inclusive growth that would ultimately benefit the poor who comprise majority of our country," Quicho added. Meanwhile, Poe's numbers decreased by two percentage points, from 26 percent in December to 24 percent in January. She is statistically tied with Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas with 21% and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with 20%. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago got only 3 percent support from voters while former ambassador Roy Seneres got 0.1 percent support. According to Poe's spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the results of the survey will serve as a roadmap for their next campaign steps. "We will see to it that we callibrate our next moves based on the data that came out of the survey. We will continue to advocate and drum up Sen. Poe's platform of governance that is based on inclusive growth - Gobyernong may Puso kung saan walang maiiwanan," he said. The camp of Duterte, meanwhile, said they do not expect the mayor's numbers to improve as his disqualification cases remain pending before the Commission on Elections. READ MORE...RELATED,
Chiz reiterates call for Carpio to inhibit from Poe’s DQ case...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Valdez: RP can’t have an American president


DEAN VALDEZ, POE

MANILA, JANUARY 18, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Tuesday, 12 January 2016 - A chief executive with an allegiance to a foreign power looms if Sen. Grace Poe prevails, legal scholar Dean Amado Valdez cautioned the Supreme Court yesterday.

Former University of the East Law Dean Valdez sought the dismissal of the petitions filed by Senator Poe to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from ordering the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the May 9 elections.

In a 71-page comment, Valdez said that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it granted his and several other petitions seeking Poe’s exclusion in the presidential race for failure to meet the 10-year residency requirement and for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen.

In answer to Poe’s petition before the High Court, Valdez said “the Comelec acted with fairness, justice and sense of duty according to the urgency of the circumstances” when it canceled Poe’s CoC.

“The hearing at the Comelec was characterized by liberality in the submission of evidence and oral presentation. There was an orderly conduct of proceedings, a neutral determination of evidence which was solely submitted by petitioner Poe, and an objective application of the law and jurisprudence.”

“The issues were argued and tested freely in a soul-searching debate by and among the petitioner, private respondent, and the honorable commissioners in open hearing as well as in the Comelec’s internal exchanges in official sessions,” Valdez said.

Poe insists that she is a natural-born Filipino under the 1935 Constitution and under customary international laws. She also claims that that she will satisfy the 10-year minimum residency requirement on election day this year.

Valdez argued that contrary to Poe’s claim, she cannot reacquire natural-born Philippine citizenship under Republic Act 9225 or the Re-acquisition Act of 2003 assuming that she could prove that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen.

The constitutionalist noted that the 1987 Constitution, in defining who a natural-born citizen is, clearly used the phrase citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.

He noted even the terms used in R.A. 9225, which was enacted two years after, were in keeping with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, without specifically mentioning the reacquisition of “natural-born” status when allowing former Filipino citizens to reacquire their Philippine citizenship.

“This fact is intentionally ignored by petitioner who claims to have renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001, assuming that she could prove her natural born status, and reacquired it in 2006 under R.A. 9225.

“As worded, there is no clear authority under R.A. 9225 to allow her to reacquire the same status after renouncing her Filipino citizenship,” Valdez said.

“Her material representation, therefore, in her CoC that she is a natural-born citizen, is false because it is not in accord with the facts in the light of the law and jurisprudence,” Valdez added.

Valdez was one of the petitioners in the Comelec who sought the cancelation of Poe’s certificate of candidacy (CoC) for president.

His petition was consolidated with the separate petitions filed by former Senate Francisco “Kit” Tatad and De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras.

Another separate petition was filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

READ MORE...

Both two petitions were granted by the Comelec, prompting Poe to seek a temporary relief from the SC which immediately issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the Comelec from implementing its twin resolutions.

Valdez added that another factor that could affect Poe’s reacquisition of the natural-born status of petitioner is her peculiar situation during the period between July 7, 2006 when she took the prescribed oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines under R.A. 9225 and October 20, 2010 when she executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the USA and Renunciation of American citizenship.

“By petitioner’s failure to renounce American citizenship immediately upon reacquiring Filipino citizenship in 2006, she remained a loyal citizen of the United States of America and bound by her binding oath of allegiance to that country,” Valdez explained.

He said such situation is inimical to the national interest as it might create a conflict in her choice in the event of contrasting policies between the two states.

Furthermore, Valdez said it is apparent that Poe has no intention to permanently reside in the country considering her dual allegisnce from 2006 to 2010, and the use of her passport five times for four years during the said period.

He noted that Poe also continued to maintain two residential properties in the US until the present time and has expressed her intention to pay federal and state taxes in the US even after her renunciation, and her husband remaining in the US for sometime after reacquiring her citizenship.

Thus, Valdez said the Comelec just followed settled jurisprudence when it found that petitioner has not yet abandoned her domicile in the USA when she traveled between May 2005 and July 2006.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Poe’s bid to get back into race a threat to country’s ‘health’ – DLSU prof SHARES: 240 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 07:10 PM January 6th, 2016


DR. ANTONIO CONTRERAS

SENATOR Grace Poe’s attempt to politicize a purely constitutional and legal issue is a threat to the country’s “health,” a De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor told the high court as he insisted that Poe’s petition questioning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision canceling her certificate of candidacy for presidency should be dismissed.

In a 41-page comment filed on Wednesday, DLSU professor Antonio Contreras said Comelec did not abuse its discretion and acted in full contemplation of jurisprudence when it affirmed the cases filed against Poe.

The Comelec en banc affirmed both the decisions of its first and second divisions.

The Comelec first division canceled Poe’s COC due to questions on citizenship and residency raised by former-Senator Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez. M

eanwhile, the Comelec second division canceled Poe’s COC based on the petition filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo stating that Poe failed to meet the constitutional requirement of a 10-year residency for presidential candidates.

Contreras said Poe’s argument that canceling her COC for President is an act of usurping the powers of the people is “a grave and false accusation.”

“She conveniently forgets that the Constitution represents the general will, which is the collective voice of the people.

The Constitution that has been approved by the sovereign Filipino people clearly stipulates qualifications for those who would like to run for President. One of such qualification is the possession of at least 10 years of residence immediately preceding the date of the election,” Contreras said.

“The petitioner [Poe] is forcing the republic toward a political crisis. In arguing that we allow her to continue her candidacy, she in effect is demanding that we grant her the privilege of seeking refuge in her alleged honest mistake, or in the incompetence or ignorance of her legal advisers,” the university professor pointed out.

“It will not violate any principle of reasoned judgment to pray to this Honorable Court to consider the enormous political impacts such line as of argument could have on all of us, on the stability of our political institutions, on the integrity of our law and our political processes, on the rationality of the electoral process, and on the rationality of the electoral process, and on the general health of our republic, if given due recognition,” he added.

Contreras was one of the four petitioners who asked the Comelec to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Sen. Poe on the ground that the latter made a material misrepresentation about her residency, where she lacked the 10-year minimum residency required by law and the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines to run for president.

The three other petitioners who have asked for the disqualification of Poe before the poll body were former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.
Last December 28, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno issued a TRO prohibiting the Comelec from implementing its two resolutions.

The two resolutions granted the disqualification cases filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo and the other one filed by Tatad together with De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

Aside from the issuance of a TRO, the Court ordered respondent Comelec to comment on the two separate petitions filed by Poe within a non-extendible period of 10 days.

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN FLASHBACK DECE 24, 2015

What Comelec's top execs think of Poe's DQ cases RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at 12/24/15 4:50 PM


COMELEC CHAIR BAUTISTA, COMELEC COMMISH LIM, SENTAOR POE

MANILA - While they were outvoted in the seven-man Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc, the camp of Senator Grace Poe appears to have scored some points with the most senior members of the poll body.

This is based on the separate opinions of Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Christian Robert Lim concerning the rulings of the en banc (full bench) on the four petitions to exclude Poe from the 2016 presidential race for material misrepresentation on her compliance with the natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency requirements for the country's top job.

While the Comelec en banc handed out two separate rulings on Poe's motion to reconsider her separate exclusions at the level of the poll body's two divisions, Bautista used one separate opinion for both cases. Lim inhibited from the second division case since the petitioner, Estrella Elamparo, is his former law firm's associate. Lim, however, took part in the first division cases and sustained his initial dissent.

Here are some portions of Bautista's separate opinion for the Elamparo case which he also adopted for the first division cases:

•The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has jurisdiction to determine questions relating to a president's qualifications only after the elections has already been conducted and a candidate has been proclaimed as the winner. But before the elections, it is this commission that has jurisdiction over questions relating to the qualifications of candidates.

•Thus, to argue that the commission has no jurisdiction to determine the qualifications of candidates upon filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) is clearly out of place. Do respondent's lawyers truly believe that the commission is powerless to disqualify a popular 20-year-old television star desiring to run for the presidency who writes age of 40 in his certificate of candidacy?

•While I agree with respondent that the application in this case of the principles of admission against interest and estoppel are debatable, and that there is such a judicial responsibility to look beyond the COC to determine the fact of residency, the language used to attack the resolution seems to be bordering on the intemperate and insulting.

•On the issue on respondent's residency, I agree with respondent that it is erroneous for the second division to have ruled in the resolution that respondent's statements contained in her 2013 COC is decisive on the issue of residency. This is particularly true in light of the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in Romualdez-Marcos cited earlier. It should be clarified, however, that such doctrine is applicable in this case only in so far as determining the issue of whether respondent's statement in her 2013 COC is decisive on her actual residency for the purpose of determining her residency qualification for the 2016 national and local elections (NLE).

•It was thus an error for the second division to decide this case solely on the said alleged admission against interest and disregard all the other pieces of relevant evidence concerning the residency qualifications of the respondent.

•In the absence of clear and convincing evidence that respondent clearly intended to misrepresent her residency and she was aware of the legal ramifications of the statement made in her 2013 COC, I believe that estoppel does not apply in her case. (Poe had declared she was a resident of the Philippines 6 years and 6 months prior to the May 2013 election in her COC, this making her fall short of the 10-year residency for president.)

•I believe that respondent did not commit a material misrepresentation with a deliberate intent to mislead when she declared in her 2016 COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. I agree with the findings of the second division that she could not have committed material misrepresentation as regards her citizenship considering that the issue on whether or not foundlings found in the Philippines are considered natural-born Filipino citizens has not yet been definitely resolved and settled by the Supreme Court.

•I believe that respondent's declaration in her 2016 COC that she would have been a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months by May 9, 2016 is false. However, I am satisfied with respondent's explanation in her motion for reconsideration that her "false" statement in her 2013 COC was just due to an honest mistake which was supposedly caused by the ambiguity in the said COC. Respondent posits that because of the purported ambiguity in the phrase, period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013, found in the 2013 COC, she chose to err on the side of prudence and interpreted such phrase to mean the date of filing of said COC in October 2012.

•I recognize the plight of the respondent and other foundlings in the Philippines and wholeheartedly sympathize with them. The sheer injustice that foundlings must perforce endure due to the black letter and deafening silence of the law is that they maybe treated as stateless individuals in the country where they were born and which they consider as their home. What is worse is that they are made to suffer due to the simple lack of available proof as to who their biological parents are. This is on top of the bitter and heartbreaking fact that they lost their parents in the first place.

•More over, there are only two types of citizens that are legally recognized in our jurisdiction: natural-born and naturalized. If a foundling is not a natural-born citizen, then he or she must undergo naturalization proceedings, barring which such person cannot claim Filipino citizenship and limbo in a state of statelessness. This injustice to my mind is a national concern that must be addressed at the soonest possible time for the sake of many whose fault of being foundlings is obviously not their own. The law should not further confound a foundling's fledgling status.

•To my mind, the majority opinion seems to be demanding too much of respondent, a layperson and faulting her for not being an expert on the laws governing Filipino citizenship. For admittedly there are no definitive jurisprudential maps and compasses with which respondent or even the commission can deftly navigate these unchartered waters.

•Congress should enact curative legislation with the effect of deeming foundlings as former Filipinos who have lost their citizenship and need only to register themselves to reacquire the same similar to the effect of repatriation. Indeed, we may also amend Article 4 Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution outright in order to include a definition of foundlings to be considered as natural-born Filipinos.

•As a foundling who grew up in the Philippines immersed in its culture language and traditions, it was but natural for respondent to think herself as a Filipino.

•While I find that the statements of respondent as contained in her 2016 COC regarding citizenship and residency are false, I do not believe there was a deliberate intent on respondent's part to mislead, misinform or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. Hence, I vote to dismiss the petition.


Comelec's Christian Robert Lim

Meanwhile, in his dissenting opinion in the first division which he adopted as well in the en banc's decision, Lim said the following:

•On the issue of residency, both the Contreras and Valdez petitions failed to take into account that as early as May 24, 2005, the respondent was able to show actual, physical and personal presence in the country, coupled with the intention of permanently residing herein. There is hence no material misrepresentation in the certificate of candidacy of the respondent as to the number of years she has been a resident of the Philippines.

•On the issue of citizenship, the Valdez petition did not squarely put in issue the fact that the respondent is not a natural-born citizen, only that she cannot claim to be a natural-born citizen based on her reacquisition of her Filipino citizenship under Republic Act 9225 or The Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003. Consequently, no ruling can be rendered whether the respondent misrepresented her claim to being a natural-born Filipino citizen in her certificate of candidacy. 

In signing the Comelec en banc resolution on the first division cases, Lim signed in Latin, "Quis Custodi et ipsos Custodis. I dissent and adopt my dissent before the first division as my dissent."


Luie Tito Ferrer Guia (Philippines), Commissioner, COMELEC.

Another commissioner, Luie Tito Guia reversed his vote on the matter of material misrepresentation in the first division rulings.

•The circumstance of her being solely a US citizen before July 2006 should of course be considered in evaluating her intent to stay in the Philippines and abandon her US domicile permanently. But weighing said circumstance with the conduct of respondent and her family, I find upon second look that indeed such intent have already been present upon May 2005. Evidence abound to prove this matter. Her act of oath of allegiance and filing of petition for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship in July 2006 are merely confirmatory of her intent to effect a change of domicile that is already established as of May 2005. 

Meanwhile, the majority of the en banc made the following points against Poe's arguments in their resolution on the appeal concerning the second division ruling.

•The commission is not convinced that the second division "chose to rely on a single piece of evidence -- respondent's 2013 COC, to the exclusion of all others, in resolving the issue of residence. It does not persuade us that as the second division entirely omitted to mention the evidence of respondent enumerated in respondent's motion, it did not consider them at all. 

•There is not a single statement in the assailed resolution to the effect that it hinged entirely its findings on respondent's 2013 COC and excluded all other evidence presented by her.

•Unfortunately, an examination of these evidence leads to but one crucial and fatal conclusion: that all of them were executed before July 2006 and are offered to prove that she can reckon her residency before July 2006, the date of reacquisition by respondent of her Filipino citizenship. This is fatal because following the cases of Coquilla vs Comelec, Japzon vs Comelec and Caballero vs Comelec, the earliest possible date that respondent could have reestablished her residence in the Philippines is when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship in July 2006. 

•We affirm the second division's finding that respondent is not covered by Republic Act 9225 because she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen. RA 9225 declares unequivocally that repatriation or reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under it is limited only to natural-born Filipino citizens. 

•In other words, RA 9225 merely treats of the act or event of reacquiring Filipino citizenship without any reference to the matter of residency whatsoever.

•There was no misapplication of this case by the second division (Coquilla vs Comelec). On the contrary, it is respondent who seems to have either taken the provisions out of context to suit her arguments or is just sincerely and plainly confused.

•Japzon vs Comelec declares that the reacquisition of a Philippine citizenship under RA 9225 has no automatic impact on a person's residence or domicile. It merely gives him the option to again establish his domicile of choice.

•On the allegation that the second division chose to rely solely on the declarations of respondent in her 2013 COC, we are not persuaded. Again, the second division was not constrained to mention every bit of evidence it considered at arriving at the assailed resolution. However, it did put ample attention on respondent's 2013 COC but not without good reason.

•Respondent cannot fault the second division for using her statements in the 2013 COC against her. Indeed, the second division correctly found that this is an admission against her interest. "No man would declare anything against himself unless such declaration was true," more over a COC being a notarial document has in its favor the presumption of regularity. Yes, the statement in the 2013 COC albeit an admission against interest may later be impugned by respondent. However, she cannot do that by mere expedient filing of her 2016 COC and claiming that the declarations in the previous one were "honest mistakes." The burden is upon her to show by clear convincing and more than preponderant evidence that indeed it is the latter COC that is correct and that the statements made in her 2013 COC were done without bad faith. Unfortunately for respondent, she failed to discharge this heavy burden.

•As for evidence presented to prove respondent's alleged honest mistake in her declaration in the 2013 COC, we have exhaustively gone through and found them to be mere rehash of the evidence and arguments raised in respondent's earlier pleadings, hence need not be taken up at length by this commission.

•Indeed, this commission finds it hard to believe that a woman as well educated as respondent who was then already a high ranking public official with no doubt competent staff and a band of legal advisers and who is not herself entirely unacquainted with Philippine politics being the daughter of a former high profile presidential aspirant, would not know how to correctly fill up a pro-forma COC in 2013.

•The burden of proving that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen is upon respondent. That there is nothing in the 1987 Constitution or in any law or jurisprudence for that matter which states that a foundling is not a natural-born citizen does not mean we are the ones constrained to conclude that she is in fact such a citizen.

•We affirm the finding of the second division that the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness cannot be considered in deciding this case. The Philippines is not a signatory to the said convention. Its terms therefore cannot bind the Philippines.

•We, as an independent constitutional body, are not completely bound by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) decision. There is no rule or jurisprudence mandating such. (The SET ruled in Poe's favor and said she is a natural-born citizen. The SET did not rule on residency.)

•A perusal of exhibits mentioned by the petitioner sheds light to the past instances when respondent made false representations in public documents concerning her citizenship.

•The alleged silence of the Philippine Constitution and the law on citizenship of foundlings such as herein respondent does not in any way entitle her to presume that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. 

On the other hand, the majority of the en banc made these points against Poe's arguments on her natural-born citizenship in their resolution on the appeal concerning the first division ruling.

•Even if we concede that respondent is entitled to the presumption of natural-born citizenship, the fact that respondent is shown to be a foundling already shifts the burden of evidence in her own court. Again, in the Reyes case cited by the respondent herself, the court rules in effect that it becomes respondent's duty to overthrow and clarify the doubt cast on her citizenship.

•To reiterate, natural-born citizenship is founded on the principle of jus sanguinis. Respondent is a foundling. Her parentage is unknown. There is thus no basis to hold that respondent has blood relationship with a Filipino parent. This commission therefore cannot rule or presume that respondent possesses blood relationship with a Filipino citizen when it is certain that such relationship is indemonstrable.


INQUIRER

Comelec defends DQ ruling on Poe SHARES: 74 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jerome Aning @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:45 AM January 12th, 2016


POLL EXEC IN SPOTLIGHT Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon makes her way to the office of Comelec Chair Andres Bautista for a meeting, following reports of “infighting” in the poll body after Bautista said Guanzon had filed in the Supreme Court an unauthorized comment on pleadings of Sen. Grace Poe to overturn the disqualification decision against her run for the presidency. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Monday defended its decision to cancel Sen. Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) after finding out that she was not a natural-born Filipino citizen and had failed to comply with the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates explicitly required under the Constitution.

In a 48-page comment on Poe’s certiorari suit against the Comelec ruling, the poll body said it “hewed closely to constitutional and legal parameters and applicable jurisprudence” in reaching its decision against the senator.

Poe’s suit questioned the Comelec decision granting the petition filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo to cancel Poe’s COC. The poll body made a similar decision in the case filed by a group led by former Sen. Francisco Tatad, which Poe is also questioning in the high court.

The comment, signed by all Comelec commissioners indicating their approval or dissent in the original decision against Poe, was in response to Poe’s suit against the Elamparo case.

The Comelec has yet to comment on Poe’s suit stemming from the Tatad case.

“The Comelec oppressed nobody when it rendered the assailed resolution, [which has] been promulgated in a justiciable case and sets forth therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the constitutional provisions, law and applicable jurisprudence on which it is based. It that sense, it speaks for itself,” the poll body said.

It added that the decision against Poe merely ensured that those seeking the presidency must be compliant with the eligibility requirements prescribed in the Constitution and that the Comelec was only fulfilling its mandate to implement those requirements.

Bounden duty

“To disqualify the petitioner who is reportedly among the front-runners in the 2016 presidential race is not an easy task, to say the least. But the Comelec will not shirk its bounden duty and constitutional mandate to conduct clean, orderly, honest and credible elections. An essential ingredient of orderly and credible elections is for Comelec to ensure that candidates comply with the eligibility requirements mandated by the Constitution, without fear or favor,” it said.

The Comelec reiterated that it was not legally bound to take judicial notice of and apply the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) recognizing Poe’s natural-born status.

The poll body insisted that it had correctly ruled that Poe failed to prove that she was a Philippine citizen by blood and that the 1935 Constitution and international human rights instruments did not vest on foundlings like her a natural-born status.

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Poe reestablished her residence in the Philippines in July 2006, when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship, and not in November 2006 as she stated in her COC for senator during the 2013 elections, the Comelec added.

“[Her] statement in her subject COC as to her citizenship and residency is and by itself a deliberate attempt to mislead the electorate or hide from them her ineligibility to run for the office of President of the Philippines,” it said.

The former law dean of the University of the East, Amado Valdez, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the certiorari suits filed by Poe seeking the dismissal of the Comelec disqualification case.

In a 71-page comment/opposition released Monday, Valdez said the poll body did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it granted his and several other petitioners’ move to cancel Poe’s COC for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen and for failing to meeting the 10-year residency requirement.

Valdez, along with Tatad and political science professor Antonio Contreras, filed the second disqualification case against Poe.


DEAN VALDEZ, POE

A constitutional law expert, Valdez argued that contrary to Poe’s claim, she cannot reacquire natural-born Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, assuming that she could prove that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen.

He noted that Article IV, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, defined a natural-born citizen as one who is a citizen of the Philippines from birth “without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”

No clear authority

Valdez noted that even the terms used in RA 9225 were in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution and did not specifically mention the automatic reacquisition of “natural-born” status for former Filipino citizens who reacquired their Philippine citizenship.

“This fact is intentionally ignored by petitioner who claims to have renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001, assuming that she could prove her natural-born status, and reacquired it in 2006 under RA 9225. As worded, there is no clear authority under RA 9225 to allow her to reacquire the same status after renouncing her Filipino citizenship,” Valdez said.

“Her material representation, therefore, in her COC that she is a natural-born citizen, is false because it is not in accord with the facts in the light of the law and jurisprudence,” he said.

Valdez added that another factor that could affect Poe’s reacquisition of her natural-born was her “peculiar situation” during the period between July 7, 2006, when she took the prescribed oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines under RA 9225 and Oct. 20, 2010, when she executed an affidavit of renunciation of allegiance to the United States and renunciation of American citizenship.

“By petitioner’s failure to renounce American citizenship immediately upon reacquiring Filipino citizenship in 2006, she remained a loyal citizen of the USA and bound by her binding oath of allegiance to that country,” he said.

He added that such a situation was inimical to the national interest as it might create a conflict in her choice in the event of contrasting policies between the two states.

Valdez also said it was apparent that Poe had no intention to permanently reside in the country considering her dual allegiance from 2006 to 2010, and the use of her passport five times for four years during the said period.

US residences

He noted that Poe also continued to maintain two residential properties in the United States until the present time, has expressed her intention to pay federal and state taxes in the United States even after her renunciation, and that her husband remained in the United States for sometime after reacquiring her citizenship.

Thus, Valdez said the Comelec just followed settled jurisprudence when it found that Poe has not yet abandoned her domicile in the United States when she traveled there between May 2005 and July 2006.

He urged the court to ignore public clamor and instead adhere to election laws and jurisprudence ruling on Poe’s qualifications.

“The ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. When a person who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the candidate,” he said.

“To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off our election laws if the voice of the electorate is the sole determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy elective positions in our republic,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Feuding Comelec execs forgo fireworks; skipped face-to-face encounter SHARES: 23 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:08 AM January 12th, 2016


COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista attends the Fair Elections Act Forum held at COMELEC Main Office, Intramuros, Manila. INQUIRER PHOTO / ELOISA LOPEZ

THE TWO feuding members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) skipped exchanging dramatic barbs to beat the deadline in lodging another comment in the Supreme Court on Sen. Grace Poe’s second pleading to reverse the poll body’s ruling to disqualify her from the presidential race in May.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the comment concerning the Second Division’s decision was sent Monday afternoon following an en banc session that allowed all commissioners to give their opinions and affix their signatures to the document.

“The [draft] comment was circulated by Commissioner Arthur Lim to the members of the en banc, we were given an opportunity to read [it] and [provide comments],” Bautista later told reporters.

But as to the comment filed by Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Thursday in the high court, Bautista said the full commission would be dealing with the issue in another en banc session today.

Bautista had claimed that Guanzon docketed the comment without clearance from him or the full commission.

On Friday, the Comelec chief issued a memorandum directing Guanzon and Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal, director of the Comelec’s law department, to explain within 24 hours “under whose authority” Thursday’s comment was filed.

Guanzon fired back, insisting that only the full commission, not Bautista, can say that the comment she filed was “unauthorized.”

But Bautista and Guanzon’s first meeting Monday at the en banc session on the heels of the controversial filing of the comment on Thursday was unexpectedly devoid of angry confrontation.

Cordial meeting


Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in the special full commission meeting this morning she would discuss with Chairman Andres Bautista the memorandum he issued to her asking her to explain why she filed a comment on Poe’s disqualification case to the SC without the concurrence of the entire Comelec. A face-off looms today between Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon over what he considers her “irregular” and hasty move to file comment on the disqualification case of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe before the Supreme Court (SC). Guanzon said in the special full commission meeting this morning she would discuss with Bautista the memorandum he issued to her asking her to explain why she filed a comment on Poe’s disqualification case to the SC without the concurrence of the entire Comelec. “I will ask him, ‘chairman, what is this memo all about?’ You know you could have just called me,” Guanzon said in an interview over dzBB yesterday. “We are friends and I don’t understand why all of a sudden we are not friends just because he dissented (from the disqualification of Poe). He is our chairman and I want to respect him, but this is so in poor taste,” she added. Philstar.com/File JANUARY 11, 2016

“It was a very cordial [meeting]. There was a lot of give and take of their opinions… . That’s what we saw this morning. There was a lot of mutual respect about the varying opinions and eventually they came up with a document that they are all happy with,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

In a press briefing, Jimenez said all seven commissioners, including Bautista, signed the comment on Poe’s pleadings in relation to the poll body’s Second Division ruling after giving their respective opinions on the matter.

He also said Guanzon’s comment was touched on very briefly since the full commission gave priority to craft the other comment that needed to be docketed at the high court before Jan. 12.

“The top agenda of the en banc meeting today (Monday) was to draft a comment that will be agreed upon by all the seven commissioners,” Jimenez said.

In a separate interview, Bautista said the full commission would try to clarify the protocol in filing pleadings and documents with the Supreme Court during today’s en banc session.

“Meanwhile, I also want to say that projecting the Comelec in disarray is not accurate. We are just having a misunderstanding on the process of filing of pleadings that’s why we want it clarified in the en banc meeting tomorrow (Tuesday),” he added.

The Comelec chief also explained that during their Jan. 5 en banc meeting, after the Office of the Solicitor General declined to represent the poll body in the Supreme Court, Guanzon was tasked to draft a comment for the First Division ruling and Lim for the Second Division decision.

Bias

However, the commissioner did not circulate the draft comment. Bautista said the en banc was open to releasing documents, such as the minutes of the meeting, and the audio recordings of the Jan. 5 en banc session if called for.
In an ambush interview with reporters, Guanzon expressed confidence that the issue would be settled soon and that “all will be well with the Comelec.”

“I’m very positive that this issue will be settled once and for all,” she said.

But on her Twitter account earlier Monday, Guanzon wondered why Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, a spokesperson for Poe, and recently Sen. Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, were “immediately talking for Bautista.”

She also insinuated that Bautista was biased for Poe: “Bautista three times met the commissioners to insist we consolidate all Grace Poe cases. He voted in her favor. Grace Poe lost. He delayed the issuance of the resolution until Dec. 23.”

Guanzon also challenged Escudero to lawyer for Poe and prepare for a face-off at the Supreme Court.



“If you are such a good lawyer, why don’t you lawyer for Grace Poe? See you in the SC,” she said, apparently in reply to Escudero’s calling her a “threat to democracy.”

Ceasefire



Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and other House members are urging the Comelec to stop fighting in public and resolve their differences in-house to preserve the poll watchdog’s impartiality at a crucial point in the election season.

“I suggest that they should get together and get their act together,” Belmonte said.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said Bautista and Guanzon should settle their differences internally because their public bickering was not doing the Comelec any good.

“If they continue this, the Comelec’s capacity to administer the elections in a nonpartisan manner will be further eroded,” Tinio said.

Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said that while it was not unusual for a collegial body to have disagreements, the Comelec officials should know better than to wash their dirty linen in public.

“Should this controversy persist, so much so that the credibility and reputation of the Comelec will be extremely prejudiced, then that is the only time we can discern who among the commissioners should be culpable for impeachment,” Batocabe said.
With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Comelec en banc on controversies: All’s well that ends well By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated January 12, 2016 - 3:08pm 1 6 googleplus0 0


All seven members of the Commission on Elections en banc faced the media to announced that all the controversies involving the poll body were resolved. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on Tuesday afternoon held a presser to announce that all the controversies involving the poll body has been resolved and settled.

Commissioner Arthur Lim particularly mentioned that the rift between Comelec Chair Juan Andres Bautista and Maria Rowena Guanzon was already settled.

“The important thing is that we were able to address the issues and we have ourselves now decided to move forward and to leave all these controversies behind us. So all is well that ends well,” Lim said.

“All the controversy in the past has now been finally resolved and settled,” he said.

Bautista and Guanzon earlier had a word war over a comment submitted by Guanzon before the Supreme Court regarding Sen. Grace Poe’s appeal for her disqualification from the 2016 race, without the concurrence of the Comelec en banc.

Lim assured the public that the poll body is now united and decided to instead focus on the preparations for the 2016 polls.

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“Your commission is firmly in good hands. We are united and focused to do the mandate the Constitution has given to us,” Lim said.

The commissioner also noted that their election agenda is being accomplished as scheduled and some are even ahead of the target period citing the arrival of voting machines and the warehousing requirements.

“We would like to assure each and everyone, especially our people, that the Commission on Elections is firmly on track in all the election timelines even as we speak the voting machines are arriving in Manila and in the port of Manila and the warehousing requirement and all other activities are on track. We are even ahead of schedule,” Lim said.

All seven members of the Comelec en banc namely Bautista, Commissioners Guanzon, Christian Robert Lim, Luie Tito Guia, Al Parreño, Sheriff Abas and Arthur Lim in a rare occasion faced the media but refused to accept questions from the press.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Ex-Comelec chief on Bautista, Guanzon rift: Don’t make it public By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated January 11, 2016 - 11:25am 2 349 googleplus0 0


Former Commission on Elections Chair Sixto Brillantes urged current Comelec Chief Juan Andres Bautista and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon to settle their differences privately.

MANILA, Philippines – Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Sixto Brillantes said the rift between current poll body Chief Juan Andres Bautista and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon should have been discussed privately.

“Parang sa isang buong pamilya, dapat naguusap kayo. You don’t go public with an internal matter. Dapat magkasundo kayo. Tumahimik kayong pareho and settle your differences,” Brillantes said, commenting on the word war between Bautista and Guanzon.

The word war started on January 7 when Guanzon filed a comment to the Supreme Court (SC) asking to lift its temporary restraining order on the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race. She filed a comment without the concurrence of the Comelec en banc, which surprised Comelec officials including Bautista.

Bautista issued a memorandum asking Guanzon to immediately comment her side. Otherwise, he will declare to the SC that the move was unauthorized. Guanzon took to Twitter for her response, saying that Bautista cannot hold her accountable for anything since she is not his “subordinate.”

In a radio interview, Brillantes said although all of them are members of the Comelec, the "chairman is first among equals." He added that a commissioner is not authorized to file a comment without the consent of the full Comelec.

“Walang authority ang commissioner na mag-file ng comment unless may resolution ang Comelec en banc authorizing her to sign," Brillantes said in an interview with dzMM.

Aside from condemning that the rift became public, Brillantes also found it not good for the image of the Comelec.

“It will not be good for the image of the institution, especially one commissioner arguing with the head of the office,” Brillantes said.

The former poll body chief also urged Bautista and Guanzon to settle their difference instead of ignoring each other and letting the rift grow further. He said, however, that he is confident that the two Comelec officials will settle their misunderstanding unlike what happened during the time of former poll Chair Alfredo Benipayo, which he described as “worse."

Brillantes recalled that Benipayo had to contend with constant opposition from Commissioners Luzviminda Tancangco, Ralph Lantion, Rufino Javier and Mehol Sadain.

“That was even worse since it was basically four against three, including Chairman Benipayo, in the en banc. Benipayo was not able to do anything since he was always being overruled by the four,” he said.

Guanzon and Bautista will meet in a special full commission meeting at 11:30 a.m., Monday. Guanzon said she will discuss and explain her comment on the memorandum issued to her. (The meeting was cordial....news report above: RELATED...Feuding Comelec execs forgo fireworks; skipped face-to-face encounter)


PHILSTAR

SC affirms TRO vs Poe's disqualification By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated January 12, 2016 - 2:46pm 1 212 googleplus0 0


The Supreme Court earlier issued a temporary restraining order against the Commission on Election's decision to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, file

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ruled to affirm the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the disqualification cases against Sen. Grace Poe.

Voting 12-3, the SC en banc affirmed the two TROs issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in favor of the presidential candidate.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that oral arguments are scheduled on January 19.

The high court also ruled to consolidate Poe's petitions against the disqualification cases against her before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

On Dec. 28, 2015, the SC ordered the Comelec to temporarily stop enforcing its ruling to cancel Poe's certificate of candidacy for president.


TRIBUNE

Poll body filed 2nd comment on DQ case; Guanzon: Bautisa biased for Poe Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 12 January 2016 00:00 By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales


BAUTISTA, GUANZON

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Amelia Guanzon was still hopping mad yesterday morning as she called polls body chief Andres Bautista being biased in favor of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe who was previously disqualified by the two divisions of the Comelec and the en banc majority from the May 9 presidential race.

The Comelec also yesterday filed its second report handled by poll commissioner Arthur Lim of the second division Monday, asking the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss a second petition from Senator Poe challenging the poll body’s ruling that granted a disqualification case against her by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

In a series of postings in her official social media account, Guanzon chided Bautista for appearing to be an ally and a co-conspirator of Poe and her vice presidential candidate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, along with her spokesman, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, both of whom act as the defenders of Bautista.

“In only two days after the issue concerning the memorandum which was leaked, Bautista had never made any (statement) after I answered back. Is he hiding anything?” Guanzon said.

“And how unusual coincidentally that Gatchalian, Poe and Chiz are now speaking for Bautista. Are they comrades? “ she added.

Guanzon also implied that Bautista appeared to have intended to derail the process of disqualifying Poe.

Bautista met with commissioners 3 times

“Bautista thrice met the Commissioners to insist we consolidate all of Grace Poe cases. He voted in her favor. Grace Poe lost. He delayed issuance of the Resolution until December 23,” she said.

Guanzon challenged Bautista to leak as well the minutes of the Commission’s deliberation of the said case.

“This is my challenge to Chairman Bautista: Let us open all the records and minutes of the Commission to show the public how Commission members, in the spirit of transparency, acted in the discharge of their functions. And let the public decide who among us genuinely live up to the ideals of integrity in public service,” she asserted.

The word war between Guanzon and Bautista is rooted in a leakage of a memorandum from the Chairman demanding that Guanzon reply to his memorandum on 24 hours and why she filed a comment before the SC without his having read or signed it, stating that there was disrespect from Guanzon for him and that he felt insulted by the lady Commissioner’s effort to write the Comelec’s comment regarding its ruling to cancel Poe’s candidacy.

Guanzon also explained that her act of writing the poll body’s comment before the Supreme Court was done to meet the High Court’s deadline of 10 days. Although Bautista requested for an extension, the Supreme Court has yet to grant or deny such prayer.

“Who told Bautista that SC will allow the filing of comment on January 12? Does he have an informant? There is no SC order granting any extension to file the comment,” she said.

“(Bautista) should name his informants for the sake of transparency and truth. If he won’t, is he intending to delay the process so that we can’t file the Comelec’s comment on time?” the feisty Guanzon stressed.

Bautista, who met Guanzon in yesterday’s executive en banc session, for his part, briefly told reporters in a chance interview that his relationship with Guanzon remains “professional”.

The Comelec chairman appears to show that he blames the media for highlighting the memo leakage.

READ MORE...

Guanzon further scored Poe for her and her camp’s remarks that tended to show that Poe was instructing the Comelec chairman to prosecute her.

“It is improper for Senator Poe to urge Chairman Bautista to probe us commissioners. He has no power to do that and that would be seen by the public as a retaliation,” Guanzon said, hinting of Poe’s lack of respect for the poll body.

“We are an independent constitutional commission. Politicians should respect the Constitution and our independence.

“As an honest public servant with 20 years of government service, I have never walked away from a good fight especially when my integrity has been impugned,” she added.

Guanzon also fired back at Escudero who tagged her in a statement as “a threat to democracy”.

“Chiz Escudero if you are such a good lawyer why don’t you lawyer for Grace Poe. See you in the Supreme Court,” she said.

Escudero, who is clearly riding on the issue between Bautista and Guanzon, to get prominent media mileage, yesterday accepted the challenge of Guazon for a “showdown” of sorts before the Supreme Court to debate on the case of the former’s presidential running mate, on her disqualification cases pending before the SC.

But such scenario can only be feasible if Escudero is allowed by law to exercise his being a lawyer by profession to defend his embattled colleague.

“I can and will of course always defend Senator Grace in the bar of public opinion. I cannot, however, represent her because I am prohibited by the Constitution from appearing before any court or tribunal. Besides, Senator Poe has far better lawyers than I who are currently representing her,” he said in a text message to reporters when asked to respond to the challenged posed by Guanzon.

In responding to the criticisms hurled at her over the weekend by Escudero called Guazon a threat to democracy.
Rep. Barry Gutierrez, spokesman of the Daang Matuwid team issued a short press statement, saying that Escudero’s concept of democracy is democracy only when he gets what he wants. He praises the SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal)’s ruling but not the SC or the Comelec’s rulings. He says they are all wrong and that the institutions are being damaged since the rulings do no tgo his and Poe’s way.

“As for us, this is an internal matter for the Comelec and we respect whatever rulings are made later by the proper courts,” he said.

Escudero continued scoring Guanzon, saying that clearly, the lady commissioner “cannot and should not be the lawyer of anyone!

“But I throw the question back at her. She cannot and should not be the lawyer of anyone and clearly she was not authorized by the Comelec and did not represent the Comelec when she filed ‘her’ comment, so who was the representing or lawyering for whom?” he asked.

Escudero has no evidence that Guanzon was not authorized to file the First Division comment before the SC.
Escudero is known to allege without proof.

“Elections should not only be clean, honest and peaceful. It should also be fair and credible. I hope Commissioner Guanzon will henceforth stop and avoid any and all moves or statements that tend to show bias, not necessarily in favor of another candidate but against a candidate, against Sen. Poe. The bullying has to stop,” he added.

Also joining the fray yesterday were congressmen allied with Poe who advised the commissioners to get their acts together.

Members of the House of Representatives yesterday warned commissioners of the electoral body to get their acts together even as one lawmaker said that one of them could be impeached.

No ground was cited by them.

According to Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe the controversy could lead to an impeachment.

‘Should this controversy persist, so much so that the credibility and reputation of the Comelec will be extremely prejudiced then, that is the only time we can discern who among the commissioners should be culpable for impeachment,” Batocabe said yesterday.

According to ACT party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio the Comelec should be impartial and that the recent incident where Chairman Andres Bautista was bypassed by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon could affect the institution.

“The commissioners would do well to get their act together and settle their differencees internally, otherwise, the Comelec’s capacity to administer the election in a non-partisan manner will be further eroded,” Tinio said.

Batocabe said it is not far-fetched that one of the lawmakers could file an impeachment against one of the commissioners.



“Get together and act together,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said.

No media copy

Lawyers of the Comelec who filed the second comment refused to give full copies of the petition to the media.

All seven members of the Comelec en banc signed the second comment, spokesman James Jimenez told media earlier on Monday, adding that Andres Bautista wrote a note saying: “Subject to the concurring and dissenting opinion dated 12/23/15.” Commissioner Luie Tito Guia also wrote “subject to my separate opinion,” while Commissioner Robert Lim indicated he inhibited from the proceedings.

In its 50-page comment, the Comelec said: “In order to succeed, the petitioner (Poe) has to manifestly show before the Honorable Court that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated its 23 December 2015 resolution.”

The Comelec said it promulgated its resolution “in a justiceable case and sets forth therein clearly and distinctly the facts and constitutional provisions, law and applicable jurisprudence on which it is bases. In that sense, it speaks for itself.”

The Comelec said disqualifying Poe in the 2016 polls was not an easy task. “The Comelec will not shirk from its bounden duty and constitutional mandate to conduct clean, orderly, honest and credible elections,” it said.

“An essential ingredient of orderly and credible elections is for Comelec to ensure the candidates for public office comply with eligibility requirements mandated by the Constitution, without fear or favor,” it added.

The Comelec insisted it is not legally bound to take judicial notice of and apply the November 2015 decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal declaring Poe a natural-born Filipino.

The poll body reiterated that foundlings are not among those enumerated as Filipino citizens under the 1935 Philippine Constitution. It said provisions of international law that Poe’s camp cited cannot legitimize her claim that she is natural-born.

“Petitioner’s statement in her subject CoC as to her citizenship and presidency is in and by itself a deliberate attempt to mislead the electorate or hide from them her ineligibility for the Office of the President of the Philippines,” read the comment.

On the issue of Poe’s residency requirements, the Comelec maintained that her residence in the Philippines was re-established only on July 18, 2006 when she re-acquired her Filipino citizenship.

The Comelec cited Poe’s admission against interest when she declared in her COC for her senatorial bid in 2013 that she has been a Philippine resident since November 2006. The poll body added that it considered other pieces of evidence, other than Poe’s 2013 COC for senator, in coming out with the assailed resolution.

“There is substantial evidence on record pointing to petitioner’s deliberate and false material representation in her COC as to her citizenship and residency,” the Comelec said.


ABS-CBN

Binay pulls away; Chiz, Bongbong statistically tied for VP: SWS ABS-CBN News
Posted at 01/15/16 10:03 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Vice-President Jejomar Binay is now the top presidential contender for the 2016 elections, with three other presidential bets statistically tied for second place, the latest Businessworld-Social Weather Stations survey revealed.

The survey, conducted last January 8-10 with 1,200 validated voters nationwide, showed 31 percent of respondents choosing Binay as their likely choice for president if elections were held today.

The survey has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The latest survey result shows Binay topping the current crop of presidential bets. He was previously tied at first place with Sen. Grace Poe after both got 26 percent support from voters last December.

"The Vice President is humbled by the people's trust in his capability to lead our country. It will encourage him to work harder in order to demonstrate his actions to uplift our people's lives, fight poverty and provide employment," said Atty. Rico Quicho, vice presidential spokesperson for political affairs.

"He will continue to emphasize that our country needs an experienced and competent leader to work for inclusive growth that would ultimately benefit the poor who comprise majority of our country," Quicho added.

Meanwhile, Poe's numbers decreased by two percentage points, from 26 percent in December to 24 percent in January.

She is statistically tied with Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas with 21% and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with 20%.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago got only 3 percent support from voters while former ambassador Roy Seneres got 0.1 percent support.

According to Poe's spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the results of the survey will serve as a roadmap for their next campaign steps.

"We will see to it that we callibrate our next moves based on the data that came out of the survey. We will continue to advocate and drum up Sen. Poe's platform of governance that is based on inclusive growth - Gobyernong may Puso kung saan walang maiiwanan," he said.

The camp of Duterte, meanwhile, said they do not expect the mayor's numbers to improve as his disqualification cases remain pending before the Commission on Elections.

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"Marami din po mga malalaking politiko who share the same sentiment -- telling us ayaw nilang ma-Grace Poe. Ibig sabihin, ayaw nilang magaya sa mga politikong nagpakita ng suporta kay Senadora Grace Poe ng maaga pagkatapos idi-disqualify lang pala ng Comelec. Natatakot po sila na baka naman magdu-Duterte sila pagkatapos idi-DQ din pala ng Comelec, paano na?" said Duterte ally Rep. Karlo Nograles.

"Kaya nga po, muli kami ay nananawagan sa Comelec, saan na po yung sinabi niyong bibilisan niyo pag-resolve sa DQ cases ni Mayor Rody? Paki-dismiss na po. Huwag na po tayong matakot sa kandidatura ni Mayor Rody.

"Ganumpaman, kami po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa matinding suportang ipinapakita ng napakadami po nating mga kababayan para kay Mayor Rody. Ipagpatuloy po natin ang ating tiwala na change is coming!" he added.



Political analyst Julio Teehankee, dean of De La Salle University's College of Liberal Arts, earlier said many of the candidates running for national positions acknowledge the importance of the ground war or campaigning in the flesh and being able to actually shake the hands of potential voters.

He said Binay scored an upset in the 2010 vice presidential elections by going "back-to-basic, ground, grassroots campaigning. It's as if he treated the entire country as a larger version of Makati."

Now that Binay is running for president, Teehankee noted how "he has gone around the country several times, even in nooks and crannies that no [other] candidates have gone before."

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, president of Binay's United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said Binay had probably gone around the country more than any other presidential candidate.

"The difference is that while others are probably doing it because it's important for their campaign," Tiangco said, "this is who he is. He's used to this. He's comfortable doing it."

READ: Candidates focus on 'ground war,' not just TV ads

CHIZ, BONGBONG STATISTICALLY TIED

In the vice-presidential race, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is now statistically tied with Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Escudero got 28% voter support in the latest survey, down from 30% in December. On the other hand, Marcos' numbers improved from 19% in December to 25% in January, or an uptick of six percentage points.

Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo is third in the race with 17%, down from 19% in December.

She is followed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (14%), Sen. Gringo Honasan (14%) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (3%).

The latest survey also showed re-electionists and former members of Congress dominating the senatorial race in 2016.

Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III dominated the race with 56% voter support. He is followed by former rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson (49%) and re-electionist Sen. Ralph Recto (46%).

Other candidates in the top 13 list are as follows:

Francis Pangilinan 46%
Franklin Drilon 43%
Sergio Osmena III 42%
Juan Miguel Zubiri 39%
Manny Pacquiao 37%
Leila de Lima 33%
Richard Gordon 31%
Teofisto Guingona III 28%
Risa Hontiveros 28%
Isko Moreno 28%

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Chiz reiterates call for Carpio to inhibit from Poe’s DQ case By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Chiz Escudero

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Escudero reiterated yesterday the call for Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to inhibit from the disqualification case of his running mate and presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe, which is now pending before the Supreme Court.

“Senator Grace’s lawyers also asked for his inhibition. I hope he will consider it and inhibit himself in order to address such doubts from some sectors regarding his impartiality in connection with the cases of Sen. Poe,” Escudero said.

Poe filed last month petitions before the Supreme Court to prevent Carpio and Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion from joining deliberations of the tribunal.

Poe and her lawyers are seeking to reverse the rulings of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying her from the 2016 presidential elections for not being a natural-born Filipino and for failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement for candidates.

In seeking the three justices’ inhibition, Poe cited their dissent to the Senate Electoral Tribunal decision that deemed her to be a natural-born Filipino.

Meanwhile, the full Comelec yesterday formalized its adoption of the comment filed by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon with the SC concerning the disqualification of Senator Poe.

In a two-page resolution, the Comelec ratified and validated the comment that Guanzon submitted last Jan. 7 without letting her fellow commissioners review the document.

Even Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista was not able to review and sign the comment, prompting him to issue a memorandum asking Guanzon to explain.

The resolution also confirmed that Guanzon and Commissioner Arthur Lim will be the Comelec’s representatives on the case as the Office of the Solicitor General refused to serve as the agency’s legal counsel. – With Sheila Crisostomo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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