Poe camp to Comelec: Apply Duterte ruling to Grace Poe case
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe is hoping that she would also get a favorable Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling like Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whose certificate of candidacy (COC) for president was accepted by the poll body.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesman, said the favorable decision gives hope to the appeal filed by Poe before the Comelec en banc. Two divisions of the poll body earlier ruled to disqualify Poe from the 2016 presidential race.
“With this positive decision, we are hopeful that the Comelec en banc applies consistency in rendering decision on the Motion for Reconsideration of Senator Poe,” Gatchalian said in a text message.
Now that the Comelec accepted the so-called "mistake" of Martin Diño in his COC, Gatchalian said it is high time the poll body does the same for Poe. Rappler reported in October that Diño, in his COC, erroneously declared that he is running “for the position of mayor” of Pasay City.
“We believe that they should be consistent and accept the 'honest mistake' of Senator Poe in her 2013 COC when she ran for senator,” Gatchalian said, referring to the fewer residency years indicated in Poe's COC.
In its ruling, the Comelec Second Division said it cannot accept Poe’s mistake in her COC as it "will be opening the floodgates for candidates to commit material representations in their COCs and escape responsibility" by "conveniently changing their story in a subsequent COC."
Poe, however, maintained it was an “honest mistake.” She earlier said she decided to err on the side of caution, citing “trauma” with the poll body because of the experience of her late father, Fernando Poe Jr, when he ran for president in 2004. The actor also faced a disqualification case over citizenship issues. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe citizenship, residency)
‘Democracy and freedom to choose’
The Poe camp welcomed the Comelec decision, saying that a true democracy is where candidates are allowed to run, in the same way that people are allowed to choose their next leaders.
“We welcome the decision of Comelec to accept the COC of Mayor Duterte. In a democracy, the freedom to choose is the most powerful tool of the people,” Gatchalian said, adding Filipino should be allowed to choose leaders “from a complete list of candidates.”
Whether or not Poe's name would be on the 2016 ballot remains hanging to date, as the poll body has yet to decide on the issue.
Poe had argued that she should be included in the ballot as the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of the law, has not yet ruled with finality on her case. – Rappler.com
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