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SC ruling on Grace Poe unconstitutional – petitioners

MANILA, Philippines – The petitioners who sought to disqualify presidential bet Grace Poe from the 2016 elections expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Poe, saying the decision was unconstitutional.

The High Court voting 9-6 allowed Poe to run for president, overturning the earlier Commission on Elections’ decision to cancel her Certificate of Candidacy.

Manuelito Luna, counsel of former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, said he would file a motion for reconsideration, as the SC ruling “bastardized” the Constitution.

“I seriously disagree with the ruling of the SC. It’s razor thin, and thus, would not have much precedential value. We will move for reconsideration,” Luna told Rappler on Tuesday, March 8.

Luna said those who voted for Poe may have committed a violation of the constitution when it reversed the Comelec ruling.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was among the 9 justices who voted in favor of Poe. The rest are Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Benjamin Caguioa.

Of the 9, four are appointees of President Benigno Aquino III: Sereno, Leonen, Jardeleza, and Caguioa.

The 6 justices who voted against Poe are Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Mariano del Castillo, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Bienvenido Reyes.

“It’s a dangerous result; a perfect recipe for chaos. The Constitution was bastardized. The people will never accept it. We will file an MR (motion for reconsideration) as soon as it (ruling) becomes official,” Luna said.

Another petitioner, former University of the East Law dean Amado Valdez, will file a separate appeal, as he said the ruling is unconstitutional.

“Will file MR based on betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution,” Valdez told Rappler in a text message.

He added: “We are always prepared for any decision. What is important is the freedom to express our opinion.”

Lawyer Estrella Elamparo, for her part, said she is “shocked” and “disappointed” with the ruling. She, however, said she would like to read the decision before acting on it.

“Extremely disappointed because I thought the law was on our side,” Elamparo told Rappler.

“Although I've been hearing about this scenario, I am still shocked because the law is so clear,” she added.

Professor Antonio Contreras, meanwhile, has given up on seeking the reversal of the SC decision. After all, he said, what happened was a clear message on the kind of justice system in the country.

“I won’t file an MR anymore. I’m already tired. It’s pointless now because we all know what will happen there (in SC),” he said in Filipino.

He, however, said he would continue to criticize the decision and Poe in all ways possible for him. 

Contreras also expressed hope the ruling would open the eyes of the public and not vote for Poe.

“I will use my power as a citizen and educator to criticize the ruling – through social media, media interviews, articles. I will now focus more on Poe’s lies on her Social Security numbers in the United States,” Contreras said.

Poe, however, seemed unfazed over the possible appeal on the favorable ruling for her.

“Puwede pa siguro pero alam mo para sa akin, isa na itong victory na nakarating tayo sa puntong ito.” (Yes they can appeal but for me, the fact that I was able to reach this point, it is already a victory.) –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, 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