What's at stake in Grace Poe SET case

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2015 08:56 PM | Updated as of Sep 10 2015 05:26 AM

MANILA - An ally of Senator Grace Poe at the House of Representatives hopes for a quick disposition of the quo warranto case seeking to unseat Poe that now casts a long shadow over her political prospects in the 2016 elections.

House Deputy Speaker and Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) President Giorgidi Aggabao said "this should be a straight forward case."

"I don't think it will entail presentation of extensive evidence. Most of the facts are already established. The only issue there is legal, what's the status of the foundling?" Aggabao said.

"I think the decision will carry the day for Grace. I think she has a strong case. I think the principal issue there is the citizenship of a foundling. That's a novel legal issue. I don't think there is a precedent."

He said foundlings follow the nationality of the country where they were found, based on an international treaty.

Aggabao said common sense dictates that foundlings should not be faulted for their status.

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) scheduled the case for preliminary conference on September 11.

Each side has 30 working days each to submit their evidence.

AT STAKE

A source who spoke to ABS-CBN News expects the Poe camp to move for the immediate dismissal of the case because it is out of time.

Defeated 2013 senatorial candidate Rizalito David filed the case against Poe at the SET on the allegations that she is not a natural-born citizen as she is a foundling, and that she does not satisfy the residency requirements for the Senate, which is two years before the elections.

If Poe loses the case, not only does she lose the Senate election she topped. She will also be rendered ineligible for higher office in the 2016 elections, which requires natural-born citizenship and a 10-year residency before the election.

If the case drags on, Poe won't get a decision until way past the filing of certificates of candidacy for the elections which is next month.

Each party in the petition has 30 working days each to submit their evidence, making a decision possible only by early 2016 or close to the start of the campaign period for the election.

Aggabao said the NPC has yet to decide on who to support among Poe, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas or Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential race.