What the SC actually said on Poe disqualification case

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What the SC actually said on Poe disqualification case

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jayWe have already learned that the Supreme Court has granted Grace Poe’s Petition to annul the Comelec rulings disqualifying her from being a candidate in the May Presidential elections.

Here are some of the pronouncements of the Supreme Court in their Decision:

Grace Poe “is a QUALIFIED CANDIDATE for President in the 9 May 2016 National Elections.”

The Supreme Court also said:

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“The issue before the COMELEC is whether or not the certificate of candidacy  of Grace Poe  should be denied due course or cancelled “on the exclusive ground” that she made in the certificate a false material representation. The exclusivity of the ground  should hedge in the discretion of the COMELEC and restrain it from going into the issue of the qualifications of the candidate for the position, if, as in this case, such issue is yet undecided or undetermined by the proper authority. The COMELEC cannot itself, in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the candidate.”

What the Court is saying is that the Comelec cannot be a judge of the qualification of Grace Poe to be President because such is lodged with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which only makes such determination after the election. (Remember the phrase “sole judge” of the electoral tribunals in the Constitution?)

The issue in the Comelec was merely the cancellation of Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy on account of mis-representation, and not her qualification to be President.

On Grace Poe’s being a natural born Filipino, the Supreme Court said:

“The fact is that Grace Poe’s blood relationship with a Filipino citizen is DEMONSTRABLE.

The Court added: “there is more than sufficient evidence that Grace Poe has Filipino parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino.”

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The Supreme Court said:

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Parenthetically, the burden of proof was on those seeking Grace Poe’s disqualification to show that Grace Poe is not a Filipino citizen. Those seeking her disqualification should have shown that both of Grace Poe’s parents were aliens. Her admission that she is a foundling did not shift the burden to her because  such status did not exclude the possibility that her parents were Filipinos, especially as in this case where there is a high probability, if not certainty, that her parents are Filipinos.

The Court emphasized: “The factual issue is not who the parents of Grace Poe are, as their identities are unknown, but whether such parents are Filipinos.”

On foundlings, the  Court said that “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.”

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On residency, the Supreme Court said: Grace Poe’s claim that she will have been a resident for ten (10) years and eleven ( 11) months on the day before the 2016 elections, is true.”

Remember that when Grace Poe ran for Senator she declared under oath that she was a resident of the Philippines for only six years and six months prior to May 2013 elections. The Comelec took this against Poe and said Poe herself admitted she lacked the ten-year residency requirement now that she is running for President.

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But he Supreme Court said:

“It was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC to treat the 2012 certificate of candidacy as a binding and conclusive admission against petitioner. It could be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was by no means conclusive. There is precedent after all where a candidate’s mistake as to period of residence made in a COC was overcome by evidence.”

The Supreme Court ended its Decision saying:

“Petitioner MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES is DECLARED QUALIFIED to be a candidate for President in the National and Local Elections of 9 May 2016.” (By Atty. Jay Dejaresco)

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