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SC denies ‘with finality’ DQ petitions vs. Grace Poe

The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday morning released its ruling, denying "with finality" the motions for reconsideration filed against its March 8 decision declaring Sen. Grace Poe as a qualified candidate for president in the May 9 elections.

The SC En Banc said in its 3-page ruling that the appeals against its March 8 ruling were denied by a vote of 9-6.

It said that the motions were denied "as the basic issued raised there have been passed upon by this court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision."

Among the petitions denied by the court were filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo, political, political science professor Antonio Contreras, former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez and former senator Francisco Tatad.

The other appeals denied by the court were filed by Commissioner Arturo Lim, representing the Commission on Elections.

In its 47-page March 8 ruling, the court declared: "Petitioner Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares is declared qualified to be a candidate for President in the national and local elections of 9 May 2016."

Poe was campaigning in Sorsogon, home province of her running mate Sen. Francis Escudero, when the SC ruling was released Saturday.

“Parang nawalan na ng kadena ang ating pangangampanya at tuloy-tuloy na po,” Poe told reporters.

“Nagbibigay lang ito ng affirmation na naging malakas at tama ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema. Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa hustisyang ibinigay nila,” she said.

In the event that she wins the presidency, Poe expressed confidence that she will hurdle questions on her citizenship and residency that could be raised before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Composed of all 15 justices of the SC, the PET is mandated by the Constitution to decide on presidential and vice presidential election protests.

“Matibay ang naging desisyon. Sa tingin ko ay kahit na kuwestiyunin pa nila sa PET, malakas ang laban natin,” said Poe.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, spokesperson of Poe, said the senator is thankful to the court for upholding its earlier decision.

"As stated before, the SC's decision is a victory not only for Sen. Poe but for our democracy. This development will pave the way for our electorate to be able to choose the next President from a complete list of candidates," Gatchalian said.

The court voted 9-6 in favor of Poe's petitions against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc's Dec. 25, 2015 rulings that canceled the senator's certificate of candidacy for president.

"All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petition for her candidacy as President of the Republic, the questioned resolutions of the Comelec in Division and En Banc are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to its fruits," the previous SC ruling added.

The high court had ordered "annulled and set aside" all rulings released by the Comelec En Banc and the First and Second Divisions in relation with Poe's disqualification cases.

Those who voted in favor of Poe's petitions in the March 8 ruling were:

  • Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno
  • Justice Presbiterio Velasco
  • Justice Diosdao Peralta
  • Justice Lucas Bersamin
  • Justice Jose Perez
  • Justice Jose Mendoza
  • Justice Marvic Leonen
  • Justice Francis Jardeleza
  • Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa

Voting against the petitions were:

  • Justice Antonio Carpio
  • Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro
  • Justice Mariano Del Castillo
  • Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe
  • Justice Bienvenido Reyes
  • Justice Arturo Brion