SC affirms TROs vs Poe disqualification

Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News

SC affirms TROs vs Poe disqualification 1
Senator Grace Poe

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the temporary restraining orders (TROs) against the disqualifications handed down by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe.

"The court, by a vote of 12-3, voted to confirm the temporary restraining orders issued by the Chief Justice upon written recommendations of the members in charge on December 28, 2015," SC spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said in a press briefing Tuesday.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on December 28 ordered the Comelec en banc (full bench) to temporarily stop enforcing its ruling to cancel Poe's certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.

Poe is seeking a reversal of the en banc's ruling upholding the decisions of the poll body's first and second divisions to cancel her COC, disqualifying her from the 2016 presidential race.

The first division, handling the consolidated petitions of former Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez, disqualified Poe on the grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino. The second division, handling the Estrella Elamparo case, disqualified her also on the citizenship requirement as well as the 10-year residency requirement.

According to Te, oral arguments are scheduled on January 19 at 2 p.m.

Oral arguments on the case filed by Rizalito David against Poe and the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), which affirmed the senator's natural-born Filipino status, are reset to another date to be announced later.

Meanwhile, despite the Office of the Solicitor General's (OSG) refusal to represent the Comelec in the cases due to a prior commitment the OSG made with the SET, the high court required the solicitor general to give his views in the cases before the SC.

Poe meantime welcomed the decision of the SC, saying this strengthens her position that she is qualified to run for president in the May 2016 elections.

"Lubos akong nagagalak sa pagpapatibay ng Korte Suprema sa TRO na una na nitong inilabas laban sa cancellation ng Comelec sa aking certificate of candidacy," Poe said.

"Ang desisyong ito ay mainam hindi lang sa aking kaso at sa aking mga taga-suporta, kundi sa demokrasya sa kabuuan. Tuloy ang ating laban," she added.