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Comelec chief: Too early to vet Grace Poe eligibility

ELECTIONS CHIEF. Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista.

File photo by Joel Leporada/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – For now, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants out of the ongoing debate on the eligibility of Senator Grace to run for a higher post in 2016.

"At this point, it's still hypothetical. Hindi pa naman candidate si Senator Poe (she is not yet a candidate,)" newly appointed Comelec chief Andres Bautista said in a chance interview at the Office of Ombudsman on Wednesday, June 3.

"We will act on it once a proper petition is filed. Ngayon medyo speculative pa kasi October pa ang filing ng Certificate of Candidacy (COC). First of all, tatakbo ba siya? Marami pa mangyayari," he said. (For now, it is speculative because they have yet to file their COCs in October. First of all, is she running? A lot of things will still happen.)

On Tuesday Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco cited Poe's COC in the 2013 senatorial elections, where she wrote that she had been a resident in the Philippines for a period of only 6 years and 6 months.

Based on Tiangco's computation, Poe will not meet by May 2016 the 10-year minimum residency requirement for candidates running for president or vice president.

Poe held her own press briefing on Wednesday to declare that she is qualified, although she said she has not decided if she's going to run for a higher post. She was elected senator in 2013 and is only halfway her 6-year term.

Poe said she has been residing in the country since early 2005. She has already surpassed the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates. She only made a mistake in her COC in 2013.

Bautista said the Comelec is focused on choosing the process that will be adopted for the 2016 elections. – Carmela Fonbuena/ Rappler.com