MANILA, Philippines – An embattled Senator Grace Poe vows to continue the fight for her candidacy in the 2016 elections.
In a press conference on Thursday, December 3, Poe slammed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division to cancel her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.
The poll body’s Second Division ruled that Poe, as a foundling, is not a natural-born Filipino.
It also said that Poe has not met the 10-year residency requirement for a president since she wrote in her 2013 COC for senator that she has been a resident of the Philippines for 6 years and 6 months.
“Tila yata isinantabi nila lahat ng aming mga pinakita,” Poe said. “Ako po'y makatotohanan sa inyo. Ang pagbasa ng batas ay hindi sa teknikal na mga bagay lamang kundi ang intensiyon ng batas na yan, na magbigay ng katarungan.”
(It seems that the Comelec Second Division disregarded the documents we presented. I have been truthful to all of you. The law should be interpreted not just based on the technical aspect, but based on the intention of the law, which is to give justice.)
Poe’s lawyer George Garcia also maintained that their documents show Poe has been living in the Philippines since 2005.
“Sinabi naman po namin na (We already admitted it was an) honest mistake (putting the wrong duration of residency),” Garcia said.
The Comelec Second Division's decision is contrary to the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which affirmed its 5-4 vote in favor of Poe.
The senator, considered the front runner in the presidential race based on voters' preference polls, is facing 3 other disqualification cases before the Comelec.
She said these cases were filed against her “by people whose motives were suspect at best.” (READ: Grace Poe challenges critics: 'DQ pa more')
The senator was again asked whether she believes her rivals, administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and opposition bet Vice President Jejomar Binay, could be behind the disqualification cases.
But Poe did not elaborate further, only saying that she would continue her advocacy for a government with integrity.
“Hanggang ngayon problema pa rin ang korupsyon (Until now corruption is still a problem),” the senator said. “This is our fight against shenanigans in and out of government... against the ills of society.”
Poe is planning to exhaust all legal remedies. She can still appeal the Comelec Second Division's decision before the Comelec en banc, all the way to the Supreme Court. (READ: EXPLAINER: Can Comelec ‘disqualify’ Grace Poe?)
“Ang ating ipinaglalaban ay hindi para sa sarili lamang, kundi para sa ikakabuti ng nakararami. Hanggang sa dulo ng proseso na kaya nating gawin, itutuloy natin. Manalig po kayo, hindi po tayo mabibigo ....Ang ipinaglalaban natin ay prinsipyo. Hindi pa tapos ang ating laban.”
(I'm fighting not just for myself, but for public good. Until the very end, I will continue my fight. Have faith, we will not fail...We are fighting for principles. Our fight is not yet over.) – Rappler.com