Plea to unseat Grace Poe reaches Senate

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2015 12:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2015 03:43 AM

Lito David, a losing senatorial candidate in the 2013 elections, shows the receipt of P50,000 filing fee and P10,000 deposit required for the quo warranto case against Sen. Grace Poe. David raised concerns on Poe's citizenship and alleged lack of residency at the Senate Electoral Tribunal in Quezon City. Photo by Manny Palmero for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA - A plot to unseat 2013 senatorial election topnotcher and 2016 presidential survey frontrunner Grace Poe has reached the Senate.

Losing senatorial candidate Rizalito David showed up at the Senate Electoral Tribunal Thursday morning with the required P50,000 filing fee and P10,000 cash deposit required for the quo warranto case against Poe.

David's attempt to file the petition on Wednesday fizzled out after SET staff refused to accept his complaint.

David declined to name the sources of his funds except to say that the cash deposit was money he borrowed while the filing fee was money contributed by friends and party-mates.

"Inutang ko po ito since deposit mababalik sa atin. Sa mga kaibigan. marami akong kabigan...Ordinaryong tao naniniwala sa kung ano ating hinahanap," he said.

David said his party Ang Kapatiran has nothing to do with his complaint. He denied that he filed the petition at the behest of politicians.

The issue of Poe's alleged lack of residency requirement was first raised by the camp of Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

For her part, Poe said she is actually relieved that a petition had been filed "so that I can answer the questions on my citizenship and residency."

"It is an opportunity for the truth to come out and for this issue to be resolved once and for all," she said in a statement.

"I assure the 20+ million fellow Filipinos who voted for me, as well as the rest of the country, that their confidence in me is not misplaced. I remain truthful to our countrymen. I am a Filipino by birth, abode and choice," she added.

DAVID VS POE

Some supporters met with David outside the gate of the SET/HRET compound in Quezon City after the filing.

David feels the response to his petition has been orchestrated.

"Feeling ko orchestrated pagsagot sa bagay na iyon. Ako, nag-iisa lang ako. Wala akong abugado dito na kailangan sila magsalita sa akin naman ano lang hinahanap natin totoo," he said.

David criticized the reaction of some sectors, saying some of Poe's statements are similar to the reactions of analysts and even legal luminaries.

He stood by his arguments, saying it was Poe who should explain why she only lost her US citizenship in 2012.

"Kung pagbabasehan citizenship niya bilang part ng residency, kulang ng dalawang taon para tumakbo bilang senador," he said.

David reiterated Poe should not have even become chair of the MTRCB.

"Hindi siya pwede maging chairman ng MTRCB kung dual citizen. Filipino citizen lang pwede humawak ng opisina. That's another problem. She has to justify paano siya naging chairman gayong sinasabi nag-renouce na di tinatanggap ng Amerika, nagfile sa dual citizenship law na di qualified dahil di natural born. Kung gusto niya ma-correct, dapat sa normal naturalization process nag-apply, hindi sa dual citizenship law," he said.

The former senatorial bet is considering filing an election offense case against Poe at the Commission on Elections next week.

He also made an appeal to Poe.

"Mag-uumpisa na proseso. Yun na lang po dapat pagtuunan ng pansin, proseso ng pagdinig. Batuhan ng akusasyon kung ako'y binayaran o merong mga pulitikong nasa likod ko o ako pakawala, walang katotohanan. Meron akong masidhing paggalang sa aking sarili. Di ako magpapagamit kanino man," he said.

David added: "Tignan natin kung karapat-dapat mga lider sa pamamagitan ng katanungan: sila po ba sumusunod sa batas? Kung walang paggalang sa batas, walang silbi pamumuno. Yun aking panawagan."

He also rebutted the Poe camp's use of an international convention.

"Sinasaaad sa batas naging citizen siya by adoption pero yung question ng natural-born di pa nareresolba. Sinasabi po na convention na kung saan pinagbabasehan isang foundling kung saan nakita yun citizenship pero yung convention effective 1975. Grace Poe pinanganak 1968. Ang convention di nag-apply sa kanya. Yung rules ng convention tinindigan ng Pilipinas 2011 lang. 1961 prinomulgate, nag accede tayo 1975, pero hindi pa rin ito na put into operation till 2011," he said.

FOUNDLING

In a brief sent to media, Poe's camp maintained she is a natural born Filipino.

"The parents of a foundling found in the Philippines are presumed Filipino. Having been born of Filipino parents, even by presumption, she is a natural born Filipino. He who claims that her parents are not Filipino should prove it. This presumption is in International Law. Even President Manuel Roxas, the grandfather of Mar Roxas, recognized this presumption in the 1935 Constitutional Convention. President Roxas was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1935. He affirmed this presumption when he stated in the deliberation of the Convention concerning the provision on Philippine Citizenship the following: 'By international law the principle that children or people born in a country of unknown parents are citizens of that country is recognized, and it is not necessary to include a binding provision on the subject.'"

David denies any law firm helped him write his case, saying that he worked at the Senate for a long time.

Under SET rules, if the tribunal does not summarily dismiss the petition, the tribunal secretary shall within 24 hours from the receipt of the action of the tribunal, issue the corresponding summons to the respondent.

The summons, to which a copy of the protest or petition shall be attached, shall require the protestee to file an answer within a non-extendible period of 15 days or the respondent to file an answer within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receIpt thereof.

The SET is composed of Supreme Court Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Arturo Brion and Senators Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Gringo Honasan and Nancy Binay.