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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

GRACE POE CAN RUN: IN LANDMARK DECISION, SC REVERSES COMELEC RULING, BUT?
[The petitioners Tatad, Elamparo, Contreras and Valdez, on the other hand, said they were caught unprepared by the SC ruling. Tatad’s lawyer Manuelito Luna said they would appeal the SC decision, which he described as a “dangerous result.” “A perfect recipe for chaos. The Constitution was bastardized. The people will never accept it. We will file a motion for reconsideration as soon as it becomes official,” he said. Elamparo shared this opinion. “Although I’ve been hearing about this scenario, I am still shocked because the law is so clear. I cannot comment beyond that because I have not read the decision,” she stressed.]


MARCH 9 -Sen. Grace Poe, attending an event marking International Women’s Day in Manila, celebrates after the Supreme Court handed down its verdict on her case yesterday. 9-6 vote reverses Comelec MIGUEL DE GUZMAN
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president in the May 9 elections. Voting 9-6 in full session, the court granted Poe’s petitions seeking to overturn the decisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying her from the presidential election for material misrepresentation on her citizenship and residency eligibilities. The majority agreed that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying Poe from the race. “The SC grants Senator Poe’s petitions, allowing her to run for the presidency,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said. But Te could not say if the decision covers both the citizenship and residency issues. The ruling is not yet final and is subject to a motion for reconsideration, which should be filed within 15 days. Those who voted in favor of Poe were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. The six who voted to deny Poe’s petition were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes. Perez wrote the ruling, which has not been released pending signature of all justices, with four concurring opinions from other justices. READ MORE...RELATED, Mar on Poe DQ verdict: More important verdict is in May...

ALSO: SC dissent - Grace lacks residency eligibility
[Del Castillo believes Poe only renounced her US citizenship to meet the requirement for her appointment as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.]


MARCH 10 -In a 70-page dissenting opinion obtained by reporters yesterday from an insider, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was correct in canceling the candidacy of Poe for material misrepresentation on her residency eligibility. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando
Sen. Grace Poe lacks the 10-year residency requirement to run for president, according to a Supreme Court (SC) magistrate. In a 70-page dissenting opinion obtained by reporters yesterday from an insider, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was correct in canceling the candidacy of Poe for material misrepresentation on her residency eligibility. Del Castillo, along with five other justices, voted to dismiss Poe’s petition seeking to overturn the unanimous Comelec ruling during deliberations on Tuesday. Del Castillo, whose opinion was initially the draft ruling of the high court until outvoted by a majority of nine justices, rejected Poe’s defense of honest mistake when she entered “6 years and 6 months” in her 2012 certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2013 senatorial race, which would have made her residency less than 10 years by May 2016. Del Castillo believes that “these public statements were for the purpose of representing to the general public that the petitioner is eligible to run for president since they were made at a time when she was already contemplating on running for the position.”  “These statements could even be interpreted as part of Poe’s misrepresentation regarding her qualification and eligibility to run for president,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Grace, Bongbong top People Power week survey...

ALSO: Ruling of SC majority - Poe eligible on residency, citizenship


MARCH 12 -This was the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in allowing the presidential frontrunner to pursue her candidacy and overturning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her for material misrepresentation in her eligibilities.
  Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen who will meet the 10-year residency requirement for the presidency before the May elections. This was the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in allowing the presidential frontrunner to pursue her candidacy and overturning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her for material misrepresentation in her eligibilities.
In a 47-page decision released last night, the high court held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion and declared Poe “qualified to be a candidate of president in the national and local elections of 9 May 2016.” “All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as President of the Republic, the questioned Resolutions of the Comelec in division and (in full) are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Jose Perez. On the citizenship issue, the SC rejected the position of the poll body that foundlings like Poe cannot be considered natural-born because their parents are unknown and the blood lineage – as required by law – cannot be established. It upheld the position of the solicitor general that there is a high possibility that her parents are Filipinos based on statistics. “The presumption of natural-born citizenship of foundlings stems from the presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) show, that presumption is at more than 99 percent and is a virtual certainty,” the court stressed. READ MORE...RELATED GRACE POE DQ CASE  CJ Sereno dismisses alleged bribe try; Justice De Castro wants evidence...

ALSO: CARPIO SAYS NO MAJORITY ON CITIZENSHIP ISSUE  - Tatad seeks recount of SC vote on Poe
[“This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said. “The Constitution defines natural-born citizens as ‘those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship’,” he said. Carpio said the term “from birth” means that the possession of natural-born citizenship starts at birth and continues to the present without interruption.]


MARCH 13 -CARPIO
Emboldened by a revelation of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that only seven not nine Supreme Court (SC) justices firmly believed that independent presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe was a natural born Filipino, a petitioner for her disqualification said he will seek a recount of the SC vote that favored Poe. The SC last Tuesday announced a vote of 9-6 to dismiss the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision to disqualify Poe for misrepresentation in her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for presidency in relation to the Constitutional requirements on citizenship and residency for a presidential candidate. Former Sen. Francisco Tatad said, however, the SC should review the votes to determine if indeed the majority sided with the decision in favor of Poe. “We were made to believe that there were nine votes in favor of Grace Poe but it was revealed that there were only seven votes, which is less than the majority so there is no ruling of the court. A simple majority of 15 is eight, not seven,” Tatad told reporters. Tatad’s counsel Manny Luna added that seven justices or less than the majority of the SC voting to declare Poe presumptively natural born and a resident of the Phils. for 10 years immediately preceding the day of the election “binds no one.” He added it cannot become part of the law of the land or jurisprudence. “The seven practically re-wrote the Constitution through a judicial opinion resulting in the impermissible discrimination of half bloods (those whose mothers are Filipinos and covered by the 1935 Const.),” he said. The controversy was sparked by the opening statement of Carpio in his dissenting voted that Poe was “deemed not a natural-born Filipino citizen by five Justices, and with no opinion from three Justices, can now run for President of the Philippines even after having been unanimously found by the Commission on Elections En Banc (Comelec) to be not a natural-born Filipino citizen.” Carpio’s statement was taken to mean that only seven of the Justices affirmed Poe’s qualification as a presidential candidate. Carpio added “what is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that petitioner Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe Llamanzares (petitioner) is a natural-born Filipino citizen.” “This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘She was a foreigner here as balikbayan’...

ALSO: Noy to SC - Clarify citizenship rules, ‘I thought Poe renounced US citizenship before MTRCB post’


MARCH 10 -President Aquino sought an explanation on how Sen. Grace Poe reacquired her Philippine citizenship, saying he did not know that she renounced her US citizenship after he appointed her to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). AP/Eugene Hoshiko, file
‘I thought Poe renounced US citizenship before MTRCB post’  LIPA CITY, Philippines – President Aquino is hoping that the Supreme Court (SC) will clarify laws on citizenship after it allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president despite questions about her citizenship and residency requirements. Aquino also sought an explanation on how Poe reacquired her Philippine citizenship, saying he did not know that she renounced her US citizenship after he appointed her to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). “Sana yong ating Korte Suprema, dito sa kanilang desisyon, ay magbibigay talaga… iyong todong kalinawan o paglilinaw sa sambayanan (Hopefully our Supreme Court, in their decision, will really give full clarification to our people) in their role as educator as far as the law is concerned,”Aquino told reporters after the change of command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force yesterday at the Fernando Air Base here. “Para maging klarong-klaro sa lahat ng ating mamamayan kung ano ba talaga ang mga alituntunin sa pagiging citizen or non-citizen ng ating bansa (So it will be very clear to all our citizens what the rules really are on becoming a citizen or non-citizen in our country),” he added. Poe expressed willingness to provide Aquino with the documents she submitted in connection with her case. The SC voted 9-6 on Tuesday to allow Poe to run for president, tossing out the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her. The high court ruling has not yet been released and only SC justices have read it, Aquino noted. READ MORE...RELATED, Race a toss-up; Binay top gainer if Poe out..AND Roxas reclaims ‘Mr. Palengke’ title in Batangas ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

SC: Grace can run


Sen. Grace Poe, attending an event marking International Women’s Day in Manila, celebrates after the Supreme Court handed down its verdict on her case yesterday. 9-6 vote reverses Comelec MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

MANILA, MARCH 14, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Edu Punay March 9, 2016 - In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president in the May 9 elections.

Voting 9-6 in full session, the court granted Poe’s petitions seeking to overturn the decisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying her from the presidential election for material misrepresentation on her citizenship and residency eligibilities.

The majority agreed that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying Poe from the race.

“The SC grants Senator Poe’s petitions, allowing her to run for the presidency,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said.

But Te could not say if the decision covers both the citizenship and residency issues.

The ruling is not yet final and is subject to a motion for reconsideration, which should be filed within 15 days.

Those who voted in favor of Poe were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

The six who voted to deny Poe’s petition were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes.

Perez wrote the ruling, which has not been released pending signature of all justices, with four concurring opinions from other justices.

READ MORE...

Te did not explain the grounds used by the SC since the main decision was not yet available.

The SC dismissed the Comelec’s First Division ruling, which canceled Poe’s certificate of candidacy due to questions on her citizenship and residency eligibility. The petitioners, former senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University law professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez, raised these grounds.

The ruling makes permanent the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high court last December against the Comelec disqualification on the first-term senator.

The high court struck down the poll body’s Second Division ruling, which canceled Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) based on the petition filed by Estrella Elamparo, former Government Service Insurance System lawyer.

Elamparo claimed Poe failed to meet the constitutional requirement of a 10-year residency for presidential candidates.

In her petition, Poe argued Comelec evaded its positive duty under the law, and utterly disregarded its own rules of procedure and settled jurisprudence, when it refused to dismiss outright the petitions led by Tatad despite the absence of a cause of action and did not cite applicable grounds under the Omnibus Election Code.

Poe said Comelec disregarded the Nov. 17, 2015 decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal dismissing the disqualification case against her on questionable citizenship status.

Poe also accused Comelec of disregarding basic international law provisions on citizenship as well as applicable international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines that created an affirmative obligation to consider foundlings as natural-born citizens.

She also insisted that she committed a mistake in her COC in good faith, saying she did not intend to mislead or deceive when she stated that her period of residence up to the day before election day 2016 would be 10 years and 11 months.

Correct and just Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who represented Poe instead of defending the Comelec in this case, welcomed the SC ruling.


Florin Ternal Hilbay is the Solicitor General of the Philippines. WIKIPEDIA

“The Court did the right thing, the result is both legally correct and just. The decision will be a legacy of the court’s solicitous regard for marginalized groups and OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” Hilbay said.

Poe, for her part, described the SC ruling as “a victory for truth, justice and for the oppressed.”

Poe said she learned of the SC ruling while on her way to attend the International Women’s Day celebration at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.

Poe said that her vehicle was near Quiapo Church at that time and so she decided to get off and say a prayer of thanks.

“It was as if I was being told to get down and give thanks (to God),” Poe said.

“I also wish to thank the Supreme Court for recognizing the truth, justice and above all, the protection of the oppressed,” she added.

In her speech at the event, Poe said the timing of the SC ruling seemed to be influenced by divine intervention.

“I supposed that God wanted me to receive the news on this day. We all know that in our country, while there are opportunities and wealth, these are not experienced by many and these people are left behind,” she said.

Poe’s camp described the ruling as a victory for democracy.

“This decision is a victory not only for Senator Poe but for all the foundlings in our country as well as a victory for our democracy. This decision truly shows that our country’s laws protect all but most especially those who are downtrodden,” Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said.

“Furthermore, this decision is a victory for our democracy because now our voters will truly have a fair elections where they will be allowed to choose from a complete list of candidates,” he added.

Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, said he is happy that justice prevailed.


CHIZ 'HAPPY, JUSTICE PREVAILED'

“The Supreme Court once again sided with the rule of law in upholding the petition of Sen. Grace to reverse the partisan, biased and unfounded decision of the Commission on Elections disqualifying her from the presidential race,” he said.

Escudero said the SC decision dispelled rumors that some quarters tried to bribe some justices with P50 million each to vote against Poe. Malacañang, on the other hand, denied the insinuations, saying these were speculative.

Escudero added the SC decision is not only a victory for Poe but also for other foundlings.

While the other parties may file a motion for reconsideration, Escudero said it is hard to overturn the decision of nine justices as against the six others.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body did its job in the disqualification case against Poe.

Bautista said the Comelec would respect the ruling.

“The Supreme Court, since it has ruled on the matter, we have to respect it,” he said.

Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim congratulated Poe, but expressed hope that the decision of the high court will not derail the rule of law.

He said Comelec would meet and decide whether to file a motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the Supreme Court ruling on Poe’s disqualification showed that the court has compassion and care for foundlings.

“Indeed, if the SC could be compassionate in rendering justice to an erring judge, then with more compassion should justice be rendered in favor of foundlings seeking to be recognized as a citizen of the country and not to be treated as a ‘stateless’ individual in the country where he or she was found,” Macalintal said.

‘A dangerous result’


TATAD, POE

The petitioners Tatad, Elamparo, Contreras and Valdez, on the other hand, said they were caught unprepared by the SC ruling.

Tatad’s lawyer Manuelito Luna said they would appeal the SC decision, which he described as a “dangerous result.”

“A perfect recipe for chaos. The Constitution was bastardized. The people will never accept it. We will file a motion for reconsideration as soon as it becomes official,” he said.

Elamparo shared this opinion. “Although I’ve been hearing about this scenario, I am still shocked because the law is so clear. I cannot comment beyond that because I have not read the decision,” she stressed.

Contreras believes the decision was a loss for the rule of law.

“I will try to respect the decision that I vehemently reject. Nine members of the Court decided to reverse the well-established jurisprudence on residence. I pity those who were disqualified earlier who were similarly situated as her. It is surely one of the lowest point in the history of our country,” he said.

Valdez, for his part, alleged the justices in the majority ruling have committed an impeachable offense with their decision.

The high court heard the oral arguments from both parties from Jan. 19 to Feb. 16, on five consecutive Tuesdays.

Poe fought hard in the disqualification cases against her before it reached the Supreme Court.

In November 2015, the SET voted 5-4 to deny the petition to disqualify Poe from the Senate.

A month later, the Comelec in full session disqualified Poe from the presidential race.

The Comelec voted separately on the two cases involving the Poe’s citizenship and residency requirements.

The First Division handled the citizenship issue while the Second Division tackled residency. Both divisions of the Comelec previously ruled against Poe. – Marvin Sy, Mayen Jaymalin, Christina Mendez, Delon Porcalla, Eva Visperas, Manny Galvez, Robertzon Ramirez

--------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Mar: More important verdict is in May By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 9, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II said the SC decision on Sen. Grace Poe, a frontrunner in surveys and whose name has been included in the ballot, would benefit the Filipino people. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines – Administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II keenly awaits the “more important verdict of the people” on May 9 after the Supreme Court (SC) allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run in the presidential elections.

“Mangyayari kung ano ang mangyayari (Whatever will be, will be),” Roxas quipped yesterday in Davao del Norte, where he was campaigning.

Roxas said the SC decision on Poe, a frontrunner in surveys and whose name has been included in the ballot, would benefit the Filipino people.

“The people do not want their votes to go to waste,” he said.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesman for the Liberal Party-led Daang Matuwid coalition, said Roxas and running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo have been preparing to run against Poe on the assumption that the SC will rule in favor of the senator.

“The Supreme Court has ruled, and we congratulate Senator Poe on their decision to let her run as president,” Gutierrez said.

“We now welcome the verdict of the people come May,” he said.

Gutierrez said the administration coalition had been campaigning on the assumption that Poe will be finally allowed to join the race.

“With 62 days left till elections, it simply means we have to keep focused on the campaign and our message,” he said.

READ MORE...

Hours before the SC handed down its ruling, Roxas told reporters while campaigning in Davao del Norte that he would respect whatever verdict will be given.

“What’s important is that we’ll continue presenting our platform,” Roxas said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., campaign manager of the administration coalition, said he was unfazed by the ruling.

“The Supreme Court has already handed down its ruling so all must respect it,” Belmonte said.

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, LP vice president for political affairs, said Roxas’ campaign would not be affected by the SC decision.

“We believe even before that the more presidential candidates we have, the better for Mar,” Erice said.

Robredo, for her part, also called on all concerned to respect the SC decision.

“It’s time for us to move on and focus our attention on the more important task of scrutinizing the platforms and programs being offered by candidates,” Robredo said.

Opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay however, shrugged off the SC ruling favoring Poe.

“The Supreme Court decision has no bearing on our campaign,” said Rico Quicho, campaign spokesman for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“This election is not about who the opponents are but who is the most prepared to address the problem of poverty. Vice President Binay is that candidate,” he said.

For Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, he only wished Poe good luck.

“Good luck to Senator Grace Poe. I wish her the best,” Duterte said. – Alexis Romero, Helen Flores, Edith Regalado, Jess Diaz, Jose Rodel Clapano, Robertzon Ramirez


PHILSTAR

SC dissent: Grace lacks residency eligibility By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 10, 2016 - 12:00am 2 397 googleplus0 1


In a 70-page dissenting opinion obtained by reporters yesterday from an insider, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was correct in canceling the candidacy of Poe for material misrepresentation on her residency eligibility. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Grace Poe lacks the 10-year residency requirement to run for president, according to a Supreme Court (SC) magistrate.

In a 70-page dissenting opinion obtained by reporters yesterday from an insider, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was correct in canceling the candidacy of Poe for material misrepresentation on her residency eligibility.

Del Castillo, along with five other justices, voted to dismiss Poe’s petition seeking to overturn the unanimous Comelec ruling during deliberations on Tuesday.

Del Castillo, whose opinion was initially the draft ruling of the high court until outvoted by a majority of nine justices, rejected Poe’s defense of honest mistake when she entered “6 years and 6 months” in her 2012 certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2013 senatorial race, which would have made her residency less than 10 years by May 2016.

Del Castillo believes that “these public statements were for the purpose of representing to the general public that the petitioner is eligible to run for president since they were made at a time when she was already contemplating on running for the position.”

“These statements could even be interpreted as part of Poe’s misrepresentation regarding her qualification and eligibility to run for president,” he said.

READ MORE...

Del Castillo said Poe should have made the correction “at the earliest opportunity before the proper forum.”

The magistrate disagreed with the majority ruling, saying the high court should have concluded that Poe “knowingly made a false material representation in her 2015 COC sufficient to mislead the electorate into believing that she is eligible and qualified to become president.”


DEL CASTILLO

Del Castillo believes Poe failed to present evidence that would show she had intended to re-establish a new domicile in the Philippines prior to taking her oath of allegiance to the Philippines on July 7, 2006.

“Since the petitioner took her oath of allegiance in July 2006 and renounced her US citizenship in October 2010, both less than 10 years prior to the May 9 elections, she could no longer prove compliance with the 10-year residency requirement,” he pointed out.

Del Castillo said Poe’s claim was “shrouded in doubt” in light of her maintaining a house in the US, which she bought in 1992, and the subsequent purchase of a residential house in the US in 2008, three years after her claimed intent to remain in the country for an indefinite period of time.

Poe’s stay in the Philippines starting from May 24, 2005 was not permanent and could not be included in counting the length of her residency because she arrived here as an alien with a balikbayan visa, according to Del Castillo.

“It was merely temporary. At most, her stay in the Philippines would only be for one year (under Republic Act 6768). This only proves that her stay was not impressed with animus manendi, i.e. the intent to remain in or at the domicile of choice for an indefinite period of time,” he stressed.

The justice said Poe’s acquisition of a condominium unit in San Juan and a house and lot in Corinthian Hills, Quezon City did not establish domicile as it could just be for investment purposes, citing the February 2013 decision on Jalosjos vs Comelec.

Del Castillo believes Poe only renounced her US citizenship to meet the requirement for her appointment as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.


PHILSTAR

SC majority: Poe eligible on residency, citizenship By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 12, 2016 - 12:00am 5 127 googleplus0 1


This was the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in allowing the presidential frontrunner to pursue her candidacy and overturning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her for material misrepresentation in her eligibilities.

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen who will meet the 10-year residency requirement for the presidency before the May elections.

This was the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in allowing the presidential frontrunner to pursue her candidacy and overturning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her for material misrepresentation in her eligibilities.

In a 47-page decision released last night, the high court held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion and declared Poe “qualified to be a candidate of president in the national and local elections of 9 May 2016.”

“All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as President of the Republic, the questioned Resolutions of the Comelec in division and (in full) are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Jose Perez.

On the citizenship issue, the SC rejected the position of the poll body that foundlings like Poe cannot be considered natural-born because their parents are unknown and the blood lineage – as required by law – cannot be established.

It upheld the position of the solicitor general that there is a high possibility that her parents are Filipinos based on statistics.

“The presumption of natural-born citizenship of foundlings stems from the presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) show, that presumption is at more than 99 percent and is a virtual certainty,” the court stressed.

READ MORE...

The high tribunal explained that such presumption is supported by domestic and international laws, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“In sum, all of the international law conventions and instruments on the matter of nationality of foundlings were designed to address the plight of a defenseless class, which suffers from a misfortune not of their own making. We cannot be restrictive as to their application if we are a country, which calls itself civilized and a member of the community of nations,” the SC pointed out.

As for the residency issue, the high court also reversed the finding of the Comelec that Poe lied when she claimed in her certificate of candidacy that she would be a resident for 10 years and 11 months on the day before the 2016 elections.

“The Comelec, by its own admission, disregarded the evidence that petitioner actually and physically returned here on 24 May 2005 not because it was false, but only because Comelec took the position that domicile could be established only from petitioner’s repatriation under RA No. 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act) in July 2006,” the SC ruled.

“However, it does not take away the fact that in reality, petitioner had returned from the US and was here to stay permanently, on 24 May 2005. When she claimed to have been a resident for 10 years and eleven months, she could do so in good faith,” it added.

The SC bought the defense of Poe that she committed an “honest mistake” in her COC in the 2013 senatorial election where she said she was then a resident for six years and six months.

“As explained by petitioner in her verified pleadings, she misunderstood the date required in the 2013 COC as the period of residence as of the day she submitted that COC in 2012. She said that she reckoned residency from April-May 2006 which was the period when the US house was sold and her husband returned to the Philippines. In that regard, she was advised by her lawyers in 2015 that residence could be counted from 25 May 2005,” it held.

“It was arbitrary for the Comelec to satisfy its intention to let the case fall under the exclusive ground of false representation, to consider no other date than that mentioned by petitioner in her COC for senator,” the ruling added.

Eight justices of the SC concurred with this ruling: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

Sereno, Velasco, Leonen, Jardeleza and Caguioa wrote separate concurring opinions.

Six other magistrates who joined the minority opinion and voted to deny Poe’s petition were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes.

Chiz hits Poe critics Sen. Francis Escudero chided yesterday those who criticized Sen. Grace Poe over the decision of the Supreme Court allowing her to run for president.

He also slammed the losing petitioners in the disqualification case, describing them as “arrogant and presumptuous that they know everything about the law.”

“These people do not have a monopoly of wisdom in interpreting the law. They should respect the decision of the justices, who would not stake their names, their integrity or their places in history in jeopardy,” Escudero said.

While the petitioners have the right to file their motions for reconsideration, the senator said “they do not have to malign the justices by lecturing them on what they were supposed to do.”

The senator also pointed out that the petitioners were ill-advised for making such an early, sweeping judgment on the magistrates who voted in favor of Poe even when they themselves admitted that they have yet to read a copy of the SC decision.

Escudero was reacting to the separate statements of University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras and former senator Kit Tatad – through his lawyer Manuel Luna – who were quoted as saying that, in rendering a decision favorable to Poe, the justices committed “a great injustice to the country and violated the Constitution.”

He said the critics should stop undermining the high tribunal as an institution by threatening to impeach the SC justices who voted in favor of Poe.

Poe’s political opponents should focus on expounding their platforms of government and plans for the country to the electorate to help voters decide wisely come May 9, he added.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno led eight other SC magistrates in voting to allow Poe to run for president in the May 9 elections. The eight are Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Francis Jardeleza and Diosdado Peralta.

Those who voted to uphold the Commission on Elections’ decisions canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

“It is the height of insolence that these petitioners could denigrate our justices for a decision that is sound and based on jurisprudence. It is just unfortunate that they may have their own interpretation of the law,” Escudero said.

He urged critics to accept and respect the decision and to stop trying to disqualify Poe from the May 9 presidential polls.

Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, who is part of Poe’s senatorial slate, hopes the SC decision will boost Poe’s chances at victory on May 9. – With Christina Mendez

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

GRACE POE DQ CASE Sereno dismisses alleged bribe try; De Castro wants evidence Published March 10, 2016 5:22pm By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News


Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-Castro on Thursday slammed a report claiming that justices were offered P50 million to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe from the May presidential elections.

A report on Manila Times, citing unnamed sources, said two attempts were made to buy off the votes of the magistrates, both by persons “very close” to President Benigno Aquino III and administration standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

On the sidelines of a female judges convention in Manila, De Castro challenged the newspaper to prove the claims on its report, which was published on Monday.

"If [the newspaper] really has any evidence about it then bring it out! So the Supreme Court can take action on that," De Castro told reporters at the Philippine Women Judges Association Convention at the Manila Hotel.

De Castro said the high court deplores unverified information being published, especially before a case is decided "because it may be being used to sway the justices one way or the other."

"What for is it being published? For what reason?" the magistrate asked.

De Castro said unless the newspaper presents evidence, its report would be a "disservice" to the judiciary.

"Grabe naman yun. We feel so bad about it. Unless the one who published will give hard evidence and if he cannot then... He's putting down the judiciary without good reason," she said.

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For her part, Sereno said it would be best to ignore matters that could not be considered legitimate issues on the judiciary.

"Meron kayong mga binabanggit na hindi naman issues talaga. In other words, some would like to raise them as issues, pero we know when an issue is before us," she said in a separate interview.

"Some matters are best disregarded or ignored. Some matters are just speculations. I think you are industry players. You know that noise itself produces activity in your sphere, and it is our duty now to identify which kind of noise to respond to and which to set aside," she said.

Sereno belonged to the majority of nine justices who voted to reverse the disqualification of Poe in the May polls, effectively allowing the neophyte senator to run for president.

De Castro, meanwhile, belonged to the minority - consisting of the six remaining magistrates - that voted against Poe and wanted to uphold her disqualification by the Commission on Elections. —KBK, GMA News

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ALSO FROM THE TRIBUNE

Atong Ang bankrolls Poe campaign — source Written by Charlie V. Manalo Wednesday, 09 March 2016


WHO IS 'ATONG'? ATONG ANG, adviser to former President Erap on gambling—legal and otherwise—who caused his downfall, rides high again. Ramon Tulfo asks further why Charlie “Atong” Ang is so brazen after being convicted by Sandiganbayan as the accomplice of Joseph Estrada in a plunder case. THIS 2009 INFO IS FROM THE PEDESTRIAN OBSERVER BLOGSPOT

Money continues to pour Sen. Grace Poe’s way. Be it from legal and illegal sources.

A Tribune source yesterday bared notorious gambling lord Charlie “Atong” Ang is reportedly partly funding Poe’s campaign using money from Ang’s alleged illegal gambling operations.

According to the source, Ang is supposed to be bankrolling Poe’s campaign to ensure smooth operations of his alleged jueteng or illegal numbers game.

Initially, rumors spread it was another suspected gambling operator in Central Luzon who might be contributing to Poe’s campaign chest but this was quickly dismissed by the source.

“There’s no way the alleged Central Luzon illegal gambling operator would thrown in his support to Poe. Reports have it that they are being coerced the Liberal Party (LP) to support Secretary Mar (Roxas),” said the source.

“Actually, the deal between Atong and Grace is said to have been facilitated by a former congressman who had been appointed to the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office),” the source said.

The former lawmaker and PCSO director is now working for Poe, according to the source.

Ang, who has a license to operate a jai-alai fronton and off-fronton betting stations within the Cagayan Freeport Zone, is alleged to operate jueteng in other parts of Luzon.

In fact, PCSO chairman Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi has also been reported to be blocking the expansion of the government-sanctioned small-town lottery so as not to get in the way of Ang’s alleged illegal numbers game.

Maliksi is also being accused of conducting raids among legal STL operators found to be competing with Ang’s alleged jueteng operations.

“Atong is pouring money into Grace’s campaign funds to ensure his unhampered illegal gambling operations should the she win,” the source alleged.


MALIKSI AND CHARLI 'ATONG' ANG -SOURCE: POLITICS.COM

Earlier, The Tribune had reported a big businessman donating huge chunks of money for Poe’s presidential run.

According to The Tribune story which came out last February 12, the businessman allegedly offered Supreme Court (SC) justices an eight-figure amount each in exchange for a favorable vote on Poe’s disqualification case.

Citing another source, the Tribune story stated the businessman was responsible for the bulk of Poe’s campaign expenses including a huge amount in the P674 million she reportedly spent for her television ads prior to the start of the election campaign.

The Tribune story also stated that the source claimed nine justices had already been “talked” into voting in favor or Poe.

Yesterday, nine justices voted to allow Poe to run in the May 9 polls, reversing the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cancelling the senator’s certificate of candidacy (CoC).

The Tribune story had been validated by another national daily in its report last Sunday.

“Win or lose, Grace Poe had already made a fortune,” the source said.

‘God’s hand’ in SC victory

It may be a day of sadness for the Comelec, for losing their case, disqualifying Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race, but it was considered a providential day for allies of the senator.

Poe saw heavenly bells sounding as the announcement on the high court’s decision came just as when she was passing by Quiapo Church, the venue where her Partido Galing at Puso kicked off their campaign trail last Feb. 9.

Poe, who was then on her way to the Gabriela-led International Women’s Day celebration at Liwasang Bonifacio, was prompted to get down from her vehicle and say a prayer at Quiapo Church before proceeding to the event.

The senator could not help but cry upon hearing the news on her case.

“We thank the SC for its timely and wise decision. To have this decision handed down on International Women’s Day is doubly providential and significant. (The late movie icon Fernando) FPJ (Poe Jr.) is smiling. His daughter has truth and justice on her side,” said Susan Ople, a senatorial candidate running under the tandem of Poe and her vice presidential running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, said.

A great day for the Filipino people, Escudero said.

Both Poe and Escudero lauded the SC for siding with the rule of law and in upholding the petition of the former to reverse what he called as partisan, biased and unfounded decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying her from the presidential race.


TRIBUNE

CARPIO SAYS NO MAJORITY ON CITIZENSHIP ISSUE  - Tatad seeks recount of SC vote on Poe Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 13 March 2016 00:00


CARPIO

Emboldened by a revelation of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that only seven not nine Supreme Court (SC) justices firmly believed that independent presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe was a natural born Filipino, a petitioner for her disqualification said he will seek a recount of the SC vote that favored Poe.

The SC last Tuesday announced a vote of 9-6 to dismiss the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision to disqualify Poe for misrepresentation in her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for presidency in relation to the Constitutional requirements on citizenship and residency for a presidential candidate.

Former Sen. Francisco Tatad said, however, the SC should review the votes to determine if indeed the majority sided with the decision in favor of Poe. “We were made to believe that there were nine votes in favor of Grace Poe but it was revealed that there were only seven votes, which is less than the majority so there is no ruling of the court.

A simple majority of 15 is eight, not seven,” Tatad told reporters. Tatad’s counsel Manny Luna added that seven justices or less than the majority of the SC voting to declare Poe presumptively natural born and a resident of the Phils. for 10 years immediately preceding the day of the election “binds no one.” He added it cannot become part of the law of the land or jurisprudence.

“The seven practically re-wrote the Constitution through a judicial opinion resulting in the impermissible discrimination of half bloods (those whose mothers are Filipinos and covered by the 1935 Const.),” he said.

The controversy was sparked by the opening statement of Carpio in his dissenting voted that Poe was “deemed not a natural-born Filipino citizen by five Justices, and with no opinion from three Justices, can now run for President of the Philippines even after having been unanimously found by the Commission on Elections En Banc (Comelec) to be not a natural-born Filipino citizen.” Carpio’s statement was taken to mean that only seven of the Justices affirmed Poe’s qualification as a presidential candidate.

Carpio added “what is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that petitioner Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe Llamanzares (petitioner) is a natural-born Filipino citizen.”

“This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said.

READ MORE...

Tatad said the SC’s supposed “majority” decision was hard to recognize after Carpio’s revelation.


TATAD

Proper decision needed “That is the basic problem now. We will ask for a cause of action with the Supreme Court and hopefully it will result in a re-vote and a proper decision will be made.” Luna said he would file the appeal likely this Tuesday.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno even said that a “clear majority of seven” voted in Poe’s favor. Citing Rule 12, Section 1 of the Internal Rules of the SC, Sereno said in her concurring opinion that all decisions and actions in court en banc cases “shall be made up upon the concurrence of the majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the deliberation on the issues or issues involved and voted on them.”

Sereno did not count the three justices who did not give their opinions on the case which was a move that Luna questioned. “The total number of justices who participated and voted on the result was 15,” he said.

Estrella Elamparo, also one of Poe’s complainant, said she will also file a motion for reconsideration with SC. “I will file a motion for reconsideration as soon as possible. I’m still formulating the specific grounds for it,” Elamparo said.

 Former University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez had also said that he will also file a motion for a reconsideration.

The majority decision said the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it barred Poe from running on the ground that she made false representations in her CoC.

The ruling stated the Comelec decision was “deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits.” In his dissent, Carpio said the inability to prove that Poe was a natural-born citizen she can be classified a “nuisance candidate”.

 “If petitioner is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, the issue arises as a necessary consequence whether she is a nuisance candidate whose COC can motu proprio be cancelled by the Comelec,” Carpio said.

“If one who is obviously not a natural-born Philippine citizen, like Arnold Schwarzenneger, runs for President, the Comelec is certainly not powerless to cancel the certificate of candidacy of such candidate. There is no need to wait until after the elections before such candidate may be disqualified,” Carpio added.

Carpio said that section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code empowers the Comelec to cancel motu proprio the COC if it “has been filed to put the election process in mockery.”

“To allow a person, who is found by the Comelec not to be a natural-born Filipino citizen, to run for President of the Philippines constitutes a mockery of the election process. Any person, who is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, running for President is obviously a nuisance candidate under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code,” Carpio added.

Carpio said in fact, the Comelec is duty-bound to cancel petitioner’s COC because to allow a person who, as found by the Comelec is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, to run for President makes a mockery of the election process.

“Since petitioner is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, I deem it irrelevant to discuss the issue of whether petitioner complied with the ten-year residency requirement to run for President,” he said.

“The Constitution defines natural-born citizens as ‘those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship’,” he said.

Carpio said the term “from birth” means that the possession of natural-born citizenship starts at birth and continues to the present without interruption.

The phrase “without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship” means that a person is not a natural-born Filipino citizen if he or she has to take an oath of allegiance before a public official to acquire or reacquire Philippine citizenship, he added. “This precludes the reacquisition of natural-born citizenship that has been lost through renunciation of Philippine citizenship,” Carpio said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

‘She was a foreigner here as balikbayan’SHARES: 1043 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tarra Quismundo
@TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:07 AM March 13th, 2016


Sen. Grace Poe. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The defeated opinion upholding Sen. Grace Poe’s disqualification written by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo focused on Poe’s abandonment of her homeland and characterized her return to the Philippines as tentative, while avoiding the issue of her citizenship.

The 70-page draft ponencia, now a dissenting opinion after Tuesday’s 9 to 6 ruling upholding Poe’s petition against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her, found that Poe had failed to prove that she had the required period of residency in the Philippines to qualify to run for President.

The Del Castillo opinion, which reporters obtained through a court insider, is one of five separate opinions expected to come out now that the full ruling has been released.

Associate Justice Jose Perez wrote the majority opinion that upheld Poe’s claim of grave abuse of discretion against the Comelec.

Shaky grounds

Originally the assigned writer of the majority opinion, Del Castillo dealt at length with what he described to be shaky grounds on which Poe had anchored her claim of sufficient domicile in the Philippines.

“The petitioner not only formally abandoned the Philippines as her domicile, but she also renounced her Philippine citizenship by becoming a naturalized American citizen,” Del Castillo wrote.

“She preferred and chose to be domiciled in the United States than in the Philippines. And she did so not out of necessity but to permanently live there with her family,” he wrote of Poe, who was found abandoned as a baby in an Iloilo church in 1968 and who became a US citizen in 2001.

“Fifteen years later, she is before this court claiming that she had decided to abandon and had in fact abandoned her US domicile and that she had decided to establish and had in fact established a new domicile of choice in the Philippines,” the magistrate said.

‘A foreigner’

Del Castillo did not accept Poe’s assertion that her reestablishment of domicile in the Philippines must be reckoned from May 24, 2005, when she flew back after decades of living in the United States.

He pointed out that Poe only reacquired Philippine citizenship in July 2006, or more than a year later, and that she was here visa-free as an American citizen.

“She was a foreigner temporarily staying here as a balikbayan. Based on these, the petitioner’s imputation of grave abuse of discretion (against the Comelec) falls flat on its face,” Del Castillo said.

He said Poe’s stay in the Philippines was “not permanent,” “merely temporary” and at most “would be only for one year.”

Del Castillo also set aside Poe’s assertion that she had full intent to permanently reestablish her residence in the Philippines by uprooting her family from the United States and buying properties here.

The magistrate said such property acquisition “may also very well be for investment purposes only.”

He also pointed out how Poe used her US passport five times between her return to the Philippines in May 2005 to October 2010, when she renounced her US citizenship.

‘Intention to mislead’

Del Castillo also held that Poe may not invoke “honest mistake” in declaring in her 2012 certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2013 senatorial race that she would be a Philippine resident by six years and six months by the past midterm elections.

This meant that her residency by Election Day this year would only be nine years and six months.

“The intention to mislead can be deduced from the fact that an aspirant, although not qualified, makes it appear in his or her COC that he or she is eligible to run for public office when in truth he or she is not. Here, petitioner made it appear that she met the 10-year residency requirement when in fact she did not,” the magistrate said.

Del Castillo said Poe started her residence in the Philippines only in November 2006, as could be reckoned from her COC that she filed in 2012.

He said the phrase on the COC asking for a candidate’s “period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013,” was “too plain to be mistaken and too categorical to be misinterpreted, more especially by one of her (Poe’s) education and professional stature.”

Citizenship issue

Del Castillo, however, did not touch on the matter of Poe’s citizenship, citing the pendency of the separate petition assailing the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s ruling that declared Poe natural-born and hence qualified to run for the senatorial race in 2013.

“[It is] … wise and prudent to withhold passing judgment at this time regarding petitioner’s citizenship. Indeed, it is tempting to seize this opportunity to sit in judgment of this issue on citizenship, which has generated so much attention, invited heated and vigorous discussion, and evoked heightened emotions… . However, loftier interest dictates that we take pause and exhaust all possible avenues and opportunities to critically study the issue,” he said.

“We believe that the resolution of the issue on petitioner’s citizenship must be carefully studied and deliberated upon. We venture to say that we may not only be dealing with foundlings per se. Any hasty or ill-considered ruling on this issue could open the floodgates to abuse by certain groups and individuals looking only after their own interest to the prejudice and undoing of our motherland,” he said. TVJ


PHILSTAR

Noy: Clarify citizenship rules - ‘I thought Poe renounced US citizenship before MTRCB post’  By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 10, 2016 - 12:00am 2 244 googleplus0 1


President Aquino sought an explanation on how Sen. Grace Poe reacquired her Philippine citizenship, saying he did not know that she renounced her US citizenship after he appointed her to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). AP/Eugene Hoshiko, file

‘I thought Poe renounced US citizenship before MTRCB post’

LIPA CITY, Philippines – President Aquino is hoping that the Supreme Court (SC) will clarify laws on citizenship after it allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president despite questions about her citizenship and residency requirements.

Aquino also sought an explanation on how Poe reacquired her Philippine citizenship, saying he did not know that she renounced her US citizenship after he appointed her to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

“Sana yong ating Korte Suprema, dito sa kanilang desisyon, ay magbibigay talaga… iyong todong kalinawan o paglilinaw sa sambayanan (Hopefully our Supreme Court, in their decision, will really give full clarification to our people) in their role as educator as far as the law is concerned,”Aquino told reporters after the change of command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force yesterday at the Fernando Air Base here.

“Para maging klarong-klaro sa lahat ng ating mamamayan kung ano ba talaga ang mga alituntunin sa pagiging citizen or non-citizen ng ating bansa (So it will be very clear to all our citizens what the rules really are on becoming a citizen or non-citizen in our country),” he added.

Poe expressed willingness to provide Aquino with the documents she submitted in connection with her case.

The SC voted 9-6 on Tuesday to allow Poe to run for president, tossing out the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her.

The high court ruling has not yet been released and only SC justices have read it, Aquino noted.

READ MORE...

He said that when Poe accepted her appointment to the MTRCB, “first time ko narinig na pumunta pa siya doon sa isang consular official ng America in 2011 para i-renounce yung citizenship, kung saang panahon na MTRCB chair na siya (it was my first time to hear that she had to go to a consular official of America in 2011 to renounce the citizenship, when she was already MTRCB chair).”

He asked why Poe had to do this when his assumption was that she had already reacquired her Philippine citizenship for some time before her appointment: “At palagay ko maitanong ko rin, bakit kailangan pang gawin, dahil ang assumption ko nga ay matagal-tagal nang na-reacquire supposed to be yung citizenship. So gusto kong makitang sana may tugon doon sa mga tanong tulad noon doon sa desisyon na hinihintay nating ilabas ng Korte Suprema.”

Poe’s lawyer George Garcia himself said in an ABS-CBN News Channel interview that the SC has not yet resolved the citizenship and residency issues hounding her.

Garcia said what the SC ruled on Tuesday was that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying Poe.

“There was no ruling on her citizenship and residency. We have to await the written decision to see if these issues were discussed and resolved,” he said.

Voting 9-6, the SC said Poe is qualified to run although its decision on her cases has yet to be released.

The President doused talk anew that he was secretly supporting Poe as four of his appointees in the high tribunal voted in her favor and the Office of the Solicitor General defended her.

While admitting that the SC decision could boost the chances of Poe, Aquino said the ruling Liberal Party would just have to keep its focus, especially since there were also surveys showing a majority of Filipinos supporting the continuity of administration programs like the conditional cash transfer.

Confusing

Aquino said it must not be forgotten that he personally found the status of Poe confusing.

According to Poe, she and her three children became dual citizens in 2006 and that she renounced her American citizenship on Oct. 21, 2010, when she took her oath as MTRCB chief.

Poe also said she was already a resident of the Philippines in May 2005, longer than what she had indicated in her certificate of candidacy for senator, where she wrote that she had been in the country since 2006 and thus would not meet the 10-year residency requirement for presidential aspirants.

As a foundling, critics said Poe was not a natural-born citizen and that she still used her US passport even after renouncing her American citizenship.

On his appointees to the SC, the President said he put them in the position to be independent.

Aquino had earlier explained there was no point in having a secret candidate because he would always campaign for people he believed in.

“They exercised their independence. We go back to the fact that we want to see, get enlightened on all issues, hopefully there will be complete answers in the decision they will release,” the President said.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV also belied reports that his uncle is a closet Poe supporter. The senator said the President had made clear his unwavering support for the tandem of Manuel Roxas II and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

The Chief Executive also downplayed a survey result showing Poe and vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the lead.

The survey was supposedly conducted during the week that the nation was celebrating the 30th anniversary of EDSA people power revolution.

Survey results change The President said numbers could change so there was no point in betting much on surveys.

“How will (the administration campaign) be affected? Of course, her candidacy will get a boost,” the President said. “How long will it last? We do not know.”

At the end of the day, Aquino said people would just have to do what they have to do instead of getting fixated with something beyond their control.

He said he does not mind what other groups were doing because his administration is focused on building on its strengths like its track record.

He said some of the administration foes used to criticize the CCT, only to backtrack and claim support for the program.

In the 60 days left to campaign, Aquino said the plans of candidates would become clearer, including on how CCT could be strengthened.

'Lifted people away from poverty'

He said the administration has succeeded in lifting Filipinos out of poverty through CCT and the focus now must be on how the gains could be sustained.

“The next campaign must be about how to pull them far away from the poverty line,” he said.

The so-called “near poor,” he said, should be protected so that “even in times of disaster or illness, they will not go back to severe poverty.”

In a campaign sortie in Candelaria, Quezon, Poe said the SC ruling made her “both emotional and happy.” She lamented that her detractors had to take advantage of the citizenship and residency issues to discredit her.

“If you have no issues of stealing and corruption, they will come out with any issue against you including your citizenship,” she said.

Mixed reactions in SC decision on Poe

The SC decision on Poe’s case drew both praises and expressions of concern.

Former law dean Amado Valdez, one of those who sought Poe’s disqualification, said under a more recent SC decision, residency should be reckoned from the time a candidate reacquires Philippine citizenship.

Valdez and another petitioner, former senator Francisco Tatad, have announced that they would appeal Tuesday’s SC ruling reversing Comelec’s disqualification of Poe.

Garcia said if the tribunal does not resolve his client’s citizenship and residency in the written ruling it would release in one week, such issues would continue to hound Poe even if she wins in May.

“Her qualifications could be questioned before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (which is the SC),” he said. “We expected to win but through a close 8-7 vote,” he said.

In Valenzuela City, presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the SC decision would create chaos.

“I really do not know, but it will create a very chaotic condition now,” Duterte, a lawyer, said.

“I just don’t agree with it because it contradicts the fundamentals that we have (learned),” he added. But he clarified he respects the decision of the magistrates.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president, said the ruling would be good for the electoral process.

“It is a welcome development. It is healthy for the electoral process as the Filipino voters will have more choices in the elections,” he said.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also said the high court’s decision would result in more enlightened votes.

“There are no more doubts as to who the candidates for presidents are. The voters can now seriously discern who to vote for,” PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta de Villa said.

With Poe now allowed to run, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said it would be more difficult for him to make a choice for next president. He said he is close to both Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay. The mayor promised to announce his choice on March 28.

In Bacolod City, a group called ALL4GP (All for Grace Poe) said it “lauds the SC for its wisdom and fairness that looked beyond the letters of the law and decided in favor of what is right and in accord with the spirit of true justice.”

The Global Pinoys for Grace and Chiz Movement praised the SC for its ruling, which it said affirmed the magistrates’ role as “knights of justice” and not mere legalists. – With Alexis Romero, Jess Diaz, Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy, Non Alquitran, Danny Dangcalan, Jose Rodel Clapano, Perseus Echeminada, Robertzon Ramirez

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Race a toss-up; Binay top gainer if Poe out By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 10, 2016 - 12:00am 0 28 googleplus0 0


Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda told The STAR that the other candidates should not be discounted even as pre-election surveys show that Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay are statistically tied in first place. Philstar.com / Jonathan Asuncion, Efigenio Toledo IV, file

MANILA, Philippines – The race for the presidency remains a toss-up between the leading contenders two months before the May 9 polls, an executive of pollster Pulse Asia said yesterday.

Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda told The STAR that the other candidates should not be discounted even as pre-election surveys show that Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay are statistically tied in first place.

In the race for vice president, Senators Francis Escudero and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. were tied at first place with 26 percent.

Binay would have benefited the most if Poe were disqualified as the survey showed that her “original voters” would shift to the Vice President.

The survey showed that 32 percent of her original voters would shift to Binay if unable to vote for Poe. On the other hand, Binay’s 37 percent would pick Poe if unable to vote for him.

A Feb. 16 to 27 survey commissioned by ABS-CBN and officially released yesterday showed that Poe and Binay are ahead of the pack with 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

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They are closely followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with 22 percent and administration bet Manuel Roxas II at 19 percent.

Trailing them is Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago with three percent.

The survey, conducted on a multistage probability sample of 5,200 registered voters, had a margin of error of plus/minus 1.4 percent at 95 percent confidence level.

However, raw results of the same survey obtained by The STAR showed slightly different numbers in the weekly breakdown.

Polling from Feb. 23 to 27, for instance, showed Poe with 25 percent, Duterte with 23, Binay with 22, Roxas with 20 and Santiago with three percent.

The poll had 2,600 respondents and an error margin of plus/minus 1.9 percent.

Poe, Duterte and Binay are statistically tied based on these numbers.

Tabunda said they were asked to combine two-week data – the surveys conducted from Feb. 16 to 20 and 23 to 27 – to break the statistical tie.

The combined result, which was released to the media yesterday, had more respondents and a lower margin of error than the Feb. 23 to 27 survey.

VP race In the vice presidential race, the Feb. 16 to 27 commissioned survey showed Marcos and Escudero tied at first place with 26 percent.

Trailing them are Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo with 18 percent and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano with 13 percent, Gregorio Honasan II with six percent and Antonio Trillanes IV with five percent.

Based on the Feb. 23 to 27 data alone, The STAR reported yesterday that Marcos was ahead of the pack with 26 percent, followed by Escudero with 25 percent and Robredo with 21 percent.

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Roxas reclaims ‘Mr. Palengke’ title in Batangas SHARES: 1246 VIEW COMMENTS By: Marlon Ramos @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:12 AM March 10th, 2016


Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas INQUIRER/Raffy Lerma

BATANGAS CITY—For a solid hour, while weaving between the narrow aisles of a public market here, a sprightly Mar Roxas shook off his elitist image and gamely posed for selfies with vendors and fish hands, prompting some market-goers to chant: “Mr. Palengke! Mr. Palengke!”

It felt like vindication for the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer who had laid claim to the grassroots moniker in his earlier campaigns for public office only to find arch rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay, disputing his claim on Saturday.

Binay said “Mr. Palengke” was more appropriate in his case, as he used to work in public markets as a young boy. The Vice President made the claim during his visit to Mega Q-Mart, a popular public market near the Roxas family-owned Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.

Turning the tables on the UNA candidate, Roxas on Wednesday visited the Julian Pastor Memorial Market in Barangay Cuta in Batangas, the home province of Binay’s father.

Full campaign mode

As he made the rounds of market stalls and made small talk, Roxas turned on the charm that made him top the senatorial election in 2004 as “Mr. Palengke.” It apparently still worked among a few would-be supporters.

“I believe him. What he told us was right,” fish vendor Nilda Valenzuela told the Inquirer. “If we want to change our society, we should start with ourselves.”

In full campaign mode, the presidential candidate asked one woman selling bananas and camotes on a stick whether she was earning enough. Told that her earnings were just enough for her family’s daily needs, a smiling Roxas said, “OK, I’ll buy all of these.”

He then grabbed a stick of camote-cue and munched on the caramelized sweet potato, while offering the other sticks of sweetened banana to the people milling around him, most of them hoisting phone cameras and tablets to record the moment.

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Roxas also gamely posed for selfies with fish vendors, students, meat stall owners, rice dealers and just about anyone who asked to have a picture with him.

Free medical aid

In a brief conversation with Genoveva Anonuevo, a 67-year-old halo-halo vendor, Roxas asked if she was suffering from any age-related illnesses and if she was able to get free medical assistance from the government through Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

He also asked if she was a beneficiary of the government’s conditional cash transfer program, officially known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

“With PhilHealth, you don’t need to pay anything. Are you aware of that?” Roxas asked.

“Yes,” the old woman said. “But what I need is financial assistance for one of my grandchildren.”

Anonuevo said she wanted to have a glimpse of Roxas who “looks so handsome when I see him on TV. ” She added: “I didn’t know he was that tall. He was also warm and sincere.”

Asked if she would vote for Roxas, Anonuevo said: “Of course. I voted for him in the past. Even my friends, who are also senior citizens, will vote for him.”

Pressed to explain her vote, she said: “I just like him. I also want him to continue the 4Ps which has benefited many of my fellow Batangueños.”

Women’s groups

But a few vendors, while saying they were pleased with Roxas, admitted that they would vote for his rivals—Sen. Grace Poe or Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte instead.

Asked why, butcher Mike Aplasca said: “Because FPJ is my idol.” FPJ, or action superstar Fernando Poe Jr., was Poe’s adoptive father.

Speaking before a gathering of women’s groups at the Batangas City Sports Complex, Roxas said his interest in promoting public markets started when he first met Batangas Mayor Eddie Dimacuha during his first term as Capiz congressman in the 1990s.

“It was your mayor who showed me how vital public markets are (in our economy),” he told the packed coliseum before he and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, hied off to visit an impoverished fishing community in Barangay Sta. Clara.

Fishermen and members of Bantay Dagat thanked Roxas for the wooden fishing boats given them through the government’s grassroots-level bottom up budgeting (BUB).

“If we’re lucky (enough) to get elected, I assure all of you that we will expand the BUB to benefit more fisherfolk and empower communities like yours,” Roxas said to loud cheers from the crowd.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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