Chiz Escudero: Comelec ‘bullying’ Grace Poe

Camille Elemia
Chiz Escudero: Comelec ‘bullying’ Grace Poe
Escudero says the poll body is 'pretending to be an independent Commission' when it has been 'persecuting' Poe

MANILA, Philippines – The running mate of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe hit the Commission on Elections after its en banc upheld her disqualification in next year’s polls.

Senator Francis Escudero said the Comelec is a “bully” for saying Poe “deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate.”

The Comelec en banc on Wednesday, December 23 – just two days before Christmas – upheld the disqualification of Poe in the 2016 elections. The en banc maintained the earlier decision of the first and second divisions that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino, has not complied with the 10-year residency requirement, and deliberately misled the public.

In defense of the neophyte senator, Escudero said Poe has been transparent ever since on her citizenship and residency. 

“The Comelec is both wrong and unfair and a bully. Sen. Grace Poe has been nothing but honest, candid, forthright and open with respect to her citizenship, nationality and residency to the Filipino people,” Escudero said in a statement on Thursday, December 24.

Escudero added Poe has answered all issues against her fair and square.

“How dare they say that she ‘deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate,’” he said.

Comelec, not Poe, misleads electorate

The vice presidential aspirant said it is the poll body that is misleading the electorate, not Poe. 

To further push his point, Escudero said the poll body is “pretending to be an independent Commission” when they have been supposedly acting as Poe’s “persecutor” in “plain and simple bullying”.

Escudero cited as example the Comelec’s hasty disposition of the cases against Poe instead of those against nuisance candidates and the poll body’s refusal to consolidate all 4 disqualification cases against the senator.

“They refused to consolidate the 4 cases, which are all the same except for the names of the petitioners, if only to require Senator Poe to answer/appear in the two divisions of the Comelec and be disqualified, not only once but twice, and a third time by the en banc following what appears to be a well-written script or play,” he added.

Escudero maintained the Comelec has no jurisdiction over Poe’s qualification, saying it is the duty of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. All 7 commissioners, however, voted that the poll body has the right to determine the qualifications of a presidential candidate.

Echoing Poe’s statement, the vice presidential bet questioned the timing of the release of the decision two days before Christmas. 

Since it’s the holiday season, the Supreme Court, where last relief lies, is on break. Now, Poe needs to act quickly and submit on Monday, December 28, her petitions seeking a temporary restraining order against the Comelec ruling.

It is uncertain, however, if the SC can issue a writ on the same day the petition is filed. If not, Poe’s name will be excluded from the ballot, the Comelec said on Wednesday, December 23. (READ: What now for Grace Poe? 3 things to expect)

“Christmas is always a time for loving, sharing and giving. And it seems that the Comelec has imbibed the Christmas spirit by loving and sharing and being giving to the opponents of Senator Poe but not to her, not to us, and certainly not to the Philippine electorate,” Escudero said. – 

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email