MANILA, Philippines – Stop pointing fingers and just answer the allegations.
Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II on Thursday, December 3, denied having anything to do with the disqualification cases filed against survey front runner Senator Grace Poe and instead urged the neophyte lawmaker to stop the blame game.
“Nauunawaan ko ang kanyang damdamin. Na-hurt siya, pero lilinawin ko lang, wala akong kinalaman, wala akong kuneksyon, wala akong ni katiting na kinalaman sa pag-disqualify sa kanya. Kabahagi ito ng proseso. Mga hindi ko naman kakilala itong mga abogado na nag-file laban sa kanya, itong mga law groups. So imbis na manisi siya sa ibang tao ay sagutin na lang niya,” Roxas said in an interview with Radio Mindanao Network in Cebu City.
(I understand where she’s coming from. She’s hurt but I have to make it clear: I have nothing to do, no connection with, absolutely no involvement in the moves to disqualify her. This is part of a process and I don’t even know the lawyers and groups filing cases against her. So instead of blaming others, she should just answer the allegations.)
Poe, who has led at least two consecutive presidential preference polls, faces a handful of disqualification cases before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) stemming from allegations that she is neither a natural-born Filipino nor does she meet the residency requirements for presidential aspirants.
Presidential bets in the Philippines must be natural-born Filipinos who have resided in the Philippines for at least 10 years.
While Poe was able to hurdle a SET case over her citizenship, the Comelec Second Division on December 1, Tuesday, canceled Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) because she supposedly made “material misrepresentations” in it.
In a press conference on Wednesday, December 2, Poe hinted that it was Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay – two of her top rivals for the presidency – who were behind moves to disqualify her. (READ: UNA on Poe disqualification: We’re victims of politics, too)
Roxas, who is in the Visayas area for a series of radio interviews, said he would rather not comment because Poe is an electoral rival, but said he hoped she would follow the right “processes” in the case.
“Ang kinocommentan ko lang ay bakit niya ako sinisisi e wala naman akong kinalaman. Hindi ba siya at ang abogado niya ang nag-file ng papeles niya? Hindi ba siya ang nag-take oath bilang Amerikano? E siguro pananagutan niya ‘yun, paliwanag niya ‘yun doon. Hindi naman ako ang dapat niyang makita dito,” added Roxas.
(What I’ll comment on is why she’s blaming me when I have nothing to do with the cases against her. Wasn’t it her and her lawyer who filed the papers before Comelec? Didn’t she take an oath to be an American citizen? Perhaps that is her responsibility; she should explain that. She shouldn’t see me in any of this.)
On Wednesday, even before Poe herself pinned the blame on Roxas and Binay, spokespersons from the LP-led “Daang Matuwid” Coalition denied having any say in the Comelec’s ruling on Poe. (READ: LP behind Grace Poe DQ? Far from it – Spokesman)
Prior to their statement, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused the Comelec Second Division of favoring “political interests” – an indirect reference to the ruling party – when it decided to cancel Poe’s COC for president.
Had they wanted to take advantage of their influence, coalition spokesman Marikina Second District Representative Romero Quimbo said, they should’ve done so during the SET, which is composed of Supreme Court justices and legislators.
Among those in the SET who voted in Poe’s favor was Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, an LP member and first cousin to party chairman President Benigno Aquino III. Senator Aquino is also the campaign manager of the LP’s vice presidential candidate, Camarines Sur Third District Representative Leni Robredo.
‘Don’t destroy institutions’
Roxas also called on Poe to respect not just the process but the institutions involved in the cases filed against her.
“Lahat tayo nakakaranas sa ating buhay ng sakit sa kalooban dahil hindi nangyayari or hindi natin nakukuha ‘yung gusto nating mangyari di ba? Pero hindi ibig sabihin na dahil hindi ayon sa ating kagustuhan yung nangyari, na sisirain na natin ang mga institution or magtatanim na tayo ng doubt. Lalo na tayo – mga leaders tayo ng bansa e. Bakit natin gigibain ang mga institusyon na nailagay na diyan para proteksyunan ang interes ng pangkalahatan?” Roxas told radio anchor and lawyer Ruphil Banoc.
(All of us have experienced pain in our lives because what we wanted to happen didn’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that just because we didn’t get what we wanted, we can destroy these institutions or we can cast doubt on these institutions. Especially in our case – we are leaders of this country. Why would we ruin these institutions that are there to protect the interest of the majority?)
All is not over for Poe, who can and will appeal the decision before the Comelec en banc and even the Supreme Court. It’s the start, however, of a long process.
Roxas called on the Comelec and should the case be elevated to it, the Supreme Court, to decide on Poe’s case fairly and “as soon as possible” to avoid “confusion” among Filipinos.
Prior to announcing her presidential candidacy, Poe was wooed by Roxas to be the LP’s vice presidential candidate. An independent bet, Poe is running alongside her close friend and political ally Senator Francis Escudero, who is also an independent candidate. – Rappler.com