March 4, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Senator Grace Poe on Thursday dismissed speculations that she will be disqualified from the presidential race over a residency issue.
Poe’s lawyer George Garcia expressed confidence that the Supreme Court (SC) will junk the decisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that cancelled Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) due to alleged “material misrepresentations” regarding her citizenship and residency.
“Judging from the comments of the justices during the oral arguments, we believe they saw wisdom in our arguments against the Comelec rulings which are obviously premeditated and tainted by bias,” Garcia said in a statement.
The lawyer also criticized attempts to preempt the SC decision.
He said Poe’s opponents are now using the residency issue after failing to prove their claim that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen.
“Obviously, her opponents want to highlight the residency issue because they failed to prove their case against Sen. Poe over the issue of citizenship,” Garcia said.
“In fact, even the justices provided the legal bases that foundlings are natural-born Filipinos during the extensive oral arguments,” he added.
Garcia said the argument that Poe has not met the 10-year residency requirement is “also doomed to fail.”
“Sen. Poe has already provided factual and legal bases to prove that she satisfied the 10-year residency requirement,” he pointed out.
In the memorandum she filed before the SC, Poe said the Comelec denied her of her right to due process when it disregarded overwhelming evidence that could prove she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has been a resident of the Philippines for more than 10 years.
She maintained that foundlings like her are considered natural-born citizens based on the generally accepted principle of international law, which presumes foundlings to be citizens of the country where they were found.
Poe also argued that the Comelec “ignored settled jurisprudence and disregarded the evidence on record” when it ruled that she made a false material representation in her COC as to the period of her residence before the May 9 polls.
According to Poe, she began to settle permanently in the Philippines since May 24, 2005.
After that, she said she enrolled her children to local schools in June 2005, constructed her family home in Quezon City in early 2006, and sold their property in the United States in 2006.
The SC is set to deliberate and vote on the lady Senator’s consolidated petition against the Comelec on March 8.