MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Grace Poe said on Wednesday, December 2, that two of her rivals are behind moves to disqualify her from the 2016 elections.
While Poe refused to give names, she gave several clues, saying those behind the attacks are opponents who would “benefit” once she is disqualified from the presidential race.
“Napakamasigasig kasi ng prosesong ginagawa nila. Talagang gustong ipitin. Nandoon na ako, siguro kasama 'yan sa istratehiya nila, pero sino ba talaga magbebenepisyo rito? Eh di 'yung mga katunggali ko na dalawa na siguradong may mga tao na 'yon ang nagpaharap ng mga kasong iyon,” Poe said.
(This is being done very aggressively. They really want to push me to a corner. I recognize the fact that it may be part of their strategy, but who are really benefiting from this? Of course, two of my opponents who surely had people who could file the disqualification cases against me.)
Prodded by reporters who these people are, Poe only said, “You already know it. You already know the connections.”
“Alam 'niyo na. Makikita 'nyo naman sa mga galaw nila. Sino ba ang may koneksyon sa malalakas na law firm? Sino ba ang dati pang kaalyado ng dati pang tumatakbo?” Poe said.
(You know, you can see it in their movements. Who has connections with big law firms? Who are longtime allies of those who ran before?)
Poe was obviously referring to administration bet Manuel Roxas II and opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Roxas is connected to “The Firm,” the nickname of a popular law firm that includes former Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz. He was an adviser of Roxas in 2010 when the latter ran for vice president and later filed an electoral protest against Binay.
A former partner in the firm was Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who chaired the Senate Electoral Tribunal and voted to disqualify Poe for not being a natural-born Filipino. Carpio also decided against Poe's father in the citizenship case filed against him in connection with the 2004 presidential elections.
Poe also expressed dismay that the people who have jurisdiction over her case are allies of an opponent. She was apparently referring to the 3 commissioners of the Commission on Elections Second Division who are all appointees of President Benigno Aquino III, who has endorsed Roxas as his successor.
Poe also pointed out it was United Nationalist Alliance president Toby Tiangco and JV Bautista – allies of Vice President Binay – who first publicized the residency and citizenship issues against her in June.
Asked again if she was referring to Binay and Roxas, Poe replied, “Oo, sila naman yun eh” (Yes, it's them), but quickly retracted her statement.
“Hindi, ang sinasabi ko 'yung mga tumatakbo ngayon. Nasa sa inyo na po. Pero 'yun po ang sinasabi ko, sino ba ang karapat-dapat o hindi? Hindi ba mas mabigat talaga ang konsiderasyon ng korapsyon at konsiderasyon ng panlalamang sa kapwa o konsiderasyon na di pagganap ng trabaho? Nililihis po nila ang usapin para di mapansin,” Poe said.
(No, what I'm saying is, those who are running now [are behind the disqualification moves against me]. It's all up to you [to identify them]. But that's what I'm saying, who is worthy or not? Are corruption issues, taking advantage of fellowmen, and neglect of duty heavier considerations [than the disqualification cases]? They are diverting the issue.) – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com