Grace says disqualification cases 'like unli load'

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2015 04:40 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2015 05:28 PM

MANILA - Like unlimited cellphone load. This is how Senator and presidential candidate Grace Poe described the disqualification cases filed against her after another case was filed against her, this time by former University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez.

Poe reiterated that, similar to the other cases filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and Commission on Elections, she will be addressing the case filed by Valdez.

In his petition, Valdez said Poe committed material misrepresentations in her COC when she declared that she is a natural-born citizen and that she has fulfilled the ten-year residency requirements for her to run as president.

Valdez argued that even assuming that she was a natural-born citizen, Poe lost that status when she renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001 to become a US citizen. And even though she has since re-acquired her citizenship in 2006, Poe never regained her natural-born status. In fact, "her filing of a petition to re-acquire Filipino citizenship is a specific act inconsistent with the definition of the constitution of a natural-born citizen," he argued.

"Even if she proves na natural born citizen siya by birth, nawala na yon," Dean Valdez told reporters. "Ang ginawa lang ho ng RA 9225 ay binigyan lang ng status of a repatriated Filipino citizen, pero hindi kasama yung full, yung tinatawag na natural-born citizen."

The former law dean said Poe has failed to meet the residency requirements for the presidency, whether her residency may be reckoned from July 7, 2006 (when she reacquired her Philippine citizenship), November 2006 (when she has been a resident of the the Philippines, according to her admission on her COC for senator), or October 20, 2010 (when she renounced her American citizenship).

Several similar cases have been filed against Poe who is leading in presidential surveys.

Three similar cases have been filed against Poe who is the leader in presidential surveys.

Last October 20, Professor Antonio Contreras filed a Petition to Deny Due Course or Cancel the COC of Senator Poe before the Comission on Elections (Comelec) using her residency as grounds.

Former senator Francisco Tatad, meanwhile, cited Poe's uncertain lineage in his disqualification petition.

Lawyer Estrella Elamparo on October 16 also sought to eliminate Poe from the presidential race due to the latter’s alleged "material misrepresentation in stating that she is a natural-born Filipino."

On top of the cases, the Senate electoral tribunal (SET) is expected to decide next week whether or not to disqualify Poe from the Senate. Losing senatorial candidate Rizalito David filed a case alleging that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino.

Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, spokesman of Senator Poe, earlier said the senator respects Valdez's right to file a petition. "We reiterate though that Senator Poe has met all the prerequisites in seeking the presidency," he said in a statement.