MANILA - The Commission on Elections will have to defend its decision to disqualify presidential aspirant Grace Poe in the 2016 polls after the Office of the Solicitor General decided not to back the poll body's ruling.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said it received a letter from Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, saying that he cannot defend Comelec because the OSG's position is different from that of the majority of the poll body.
"Kahapon natanggap namin ang sulat ni SolGen Hilbay. Sinasabi niya hindi niya daw pwedeng ipagtanggol ang Comelec dahil medyo magkasalungat yung kanyang posisyon doon po sa naging desisyon sa majority ng Comelec," he said.
READ: SET asks SC to junk appeal in Poe case
The OSG earlier said it backed the position of the Senate Electoral Tribunal that Poe, a foundling, is a natural-born citizen. The SET said it anchored its ruling on the deliberations of the 1935 Constitution which establish that "[f]oundlings are citizens of the Philippines."
In the DZMM interview, Bautista said he wrote to the Supreme Court asking for a five-day extension to submit the Comelec's opinion on why it disqualified Poe. The SC earlier gave the Comelec until January 7 to submit its opinion on Poe's motion to reject the poll body's ruling on her disqualification.
Bautista said the Comelec en banc will need to discuss who will represent the poll body in the oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
"Ang sabi ko, kung pwede bigyan kami ng additional five days kasi nga kumbaga ngayon ang mangyayari diyan, sariling sikap na lang ang Comelec diyan. Kami-kami na lang ang magde-depensa sa naging posisyon ng Comelec tungkol dito," he said.
The Comelec en banc earlier voted 7-0 that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino. The commission also voted 5-2 that Poe does not meet the ten-year residency requirement.
READ: How they voted: Comelec sustains Poe disqualification
Bautista earlier said Poe had no intent to mislead the public when she declared in her certificate of candidacy for president that she is a natural born Filipino and that she meets the 10-year residency requirement for candidates.
This is despite his own belief that Poe failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement needed for presidential candidates and that the senator is not a natural-born Filipino.
"Sa tingin ko talaga, medyo nagkulang yung kanyang residency. At yung kanyang pagiging natural born, kasi nga ang mga foundling talaga nahihirapang ipakita yung kanilang blood relation," he said.
READ: Comelec pressured to DQ Poe? Bautista says 'majority won'