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MANILA, Philippines – After the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruled in favor of Senator Grace Poe, her camp announced it will move for the dismissal of the other citizenship case filed by losing senatorial candidate Rizalito David before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In a statement Friday, November 27, Poe’s counsel George Garcia said the other Comelec case “has been effectively extinguished” by the SET decision.
“We strongly believe that the SET win means there is no misrepresentation in the COC she filed when she ran for the Senate in 2013,” the lawyer explained.
In the Comelec case, David’s camp alleged that Poe committed an election offense when she “falsely claimed” she is a natural-born Filipino, and had met the residency requirement when she ran for the Senate in the 2013 elections. (READ: Poe not qualified? Let her run first, lawyer tells Comelec)
The Comelec law department is set to decide soon on the case and will recommend either the filing of charges against Poe before a court, or the dismissal of the complaint.
David also filed the disqualification case before the SET, but the tribunal dismissed the petition and ruled that Poe is a natural-born Filipino. His camp has already appealed the decision. (READ: Why did SC justices vote to disqualify Grace Poe?)
Garcia on Friday said there is no probable cause that justifies the Comelec case filed by David. Poe’s camp will cite the SET decision in its manifestation which it will file before the poll body on Tuesday, December 1.
It will also file on Thursday, December 3, its memorandums for 3 other cases lodged at the Comelec’s First Division, all asking for the disqualification of Poe as a presidential candidate in the 2016 elections. (READ: SET decision won’t affect disqualification cases vs Poe)
David’s lawyer, Manuelito Luna, shot back at Garcia, calling the Poe’s camp assertion “wishful thinking.”
“Contrary to the unwarrantable claim of the Poe camp, the Comelec is not bound by the unconstitutional and political decision of the SET majority. If at all, it will only have a persuasive effect,” Luna said in a text message to reporters.
He said the cases before the poll body will be considered based on the Comelec commissioners’ independent evaluation of the facts.
And even the SET decision is not yet final, he noted.
“So it is wishful thinking for Poe to expect the Commission to favor her. In fact, her motion for reconsideration was already junked,” Luna said. – Rappler.com