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  PHILIPPINE NEWS

High Court stops disqualification of presidential aspirant Grace Poe


MANILA (PhilAmPress) — The Supreme Court (SC) stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday, Dec. 28, from enforcing its decision that disqualified Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares from running in the 2016 presidential polls.
This after the SC issued two separate temporary restraining orders (TROs) stopping the Comelec en banc from removing Poe’s name in the list of presidentiables in next year’s national elections.
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Poe immediately lauded the decision of the High Court for acting expeditiously on her petitions, adding she was humbled and grateful for issuing the TROs.
“I thank the Supreme Court for a just and compassionate decision. From the start, I had put my full faith in the judicial process. The Comelec denied our people their choices in an open election but I am confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the truth and the spirit of the Constitution,” said Poe.
The TRO prevents Comelec from disqualifying Poe and removing her name from the ballot in the 2016 election. This also means that Poe, for now, remains a candidate for president.

Supporters of Senator Poe hailed the SC TROs as “a triumph for truth, justice, democracy and human rights.”
This was the collective statement of Pangasinenses and Fil-Ams supporting presidential frontrunner Grace Poe following the issuance by the Supreme Court of two restraining orders against the Comelec en banc’s twin decisions to disqualify and delist her from the May 2016 presidential elections.
Leaders of Ang Grasya ng Masang Pilipino Movement (AGMPM) led by Adonis Samson, Rosendo So and Chito Samson hailed Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno for the issuance of the two TROs as she acted upon members-in-charge Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo and Marvic Leonen’s recommendations to issue separate TROs on the Comelec’s rulings canceling Poe’s COC.
“The Supreme Court upholding the cause of Senator Poe and the cause of the sovereign people is consistent with the democratic precept that favors inclusion rather than exclusion,” said the Pangasinan leaders.
They added, “the Supreme Court’s timely and prompt decision to issue the TROs all but favor the right of the people to elect the servant leaders of their choice, and that doubts and resorts to technicalities as done by the Comelec enbanc cannot serve to defeat the exercise of popular sovereignty of citizens.”
AGMPM is the same group that ensured the victory of Grace’s father FPJ in the vote rich province of Pangasinan in the 2004 presidential elections. Many Pangasinenses adopt and consider Grace Poe as their own..
The AGMPM leaders also welcomed the change of heart and position of Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia to the residency issue of Grace Poe stating that after review of the evidences presented, she was able to prove that she has satisfied the 10-year residency qualification required for a president under the Constitution.”
“We welcome Commissioner Guia’s change of position not only for its relevance to the case of our presidential bet Grace Poe but he is also a Pangasinense like us being a native of Binmaley,” said Adonis Samson.
In Los Angeles, Fil-Am leaders of the Grace Poe for President Movement led by Jun Caringal, Arturo Garcia, Atty. Roman Mosqueda, Macky Fortu, Orly Cagampan and Larry Pelayo hailed the Supreme Court’s timely issuance of the two TROs that has given fresh hope for Fil Ams and millions of Filipinos overseas to elect Grace Poe in the May 2016 elections.
“With the issuance of the TROs against the Comelec, the SC has proven itself as the ‘great defender’ of the oppresed, powerless innocent like the foundling Grace Poe,” said the Fil Am leaders.
Caringal said “Chief Justice Sereno’s prompt decision to issue the TROs has put a stop to the politics of exclusion and election by elimination being perpetrated by the conspirators who are out to preserve the status quo via a legal coup d e’tat.”
He pointed that “the SC is institutionally lifted up with this decision especially when it fights back for the powerless, serves as the people’s defender and acts as the great equalizer.”
The FilAms for Grace Poe are confident that the Supreme Court will favor the sovereign Filipino people not for the powerful bullies. (PhilAmPress/MTVi)
The High Court granted the TRO on the same day the petition for certiorari was filed by Poe’s lawyer George Garcia, who scored the Comelec’s haste and timing in issuing two separate decisions granting petitions to disqualify his client.
The poll body had come out with the decision last December 23, the last working day before the long Christmas break, and gave Poe only five days to seek reversal from the Supreme Court.
Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia, had earlier pointed out that Comelec’s deadline violated the Omnibus Election Code, which states that rulings can only be implemented after 30 days.
“We are confident the SC will honor previous jurisprudence on the rights of foundlings to a country and citizenship. I also pray that they will carefully look into the facts of my residence and my actual physical presence in the country,” said Poe.
Garcia said Poe’s camp also filed a separate petition asking the three Justices who voted at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to inhibit themselves from the proceedings. The three magistrates are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro and Arturo Brion.
Poe said she was hopeful that the Supreme Court will decide the same way it did on her father’s case in 2004 and let the people decide for a “truly democratic elections.”
The issuance of the TROs came hours after Poe filed two separate petitions for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a TRO on the poll body’s ruling..
Poe thanked the High Court for acting expeditiously on her petition despite being on recess for the holidays until January 10, but its rules allow the Chief Justice to act on urgent petitions, which later on must be upheld by a majority of justices.
SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te said that the TROs were issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno since the SC is now on recess.
It was learned that the TROs were issued upon the recommendation of the ponente of the cases — Associate Justices Mariano C. Del Castillo and Marvic F. Leonen.
The TROs issued by Sereno must be confirmed by the SC en banc upon the next en banc session on Jan. 12, 2016.
Aside from this, Sereno has ordered the Comelec and respondents to file its comment within a “non-extendible” period of 10 days from notice.
Likewise, the conduct of the oral arguments was set on Jan. 19, 2016, alongside with the oral arguments in the case of “Rizalito David vs. Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and Poe.



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