Last December, Senator Grace Poe and her supporters in the so-called All4GP Movement published their third advertisement calling on the Supreme Court to allow Poe to run for president in the May 2016 elections. In effect, they want the SC to disobey the Constitution by letting the voters decide whether or not Poe should be president.
Like the first two advertisements, this one was written in poor English—“We humbly urged (should be urge) our Honorable Justices to uphold our rights ...” How such poor English was approved by Poe, an American citizen before she held public office in the country, is undisclosed. If Poe was too busy to review the advertisement, she should have asked her American husband to review it for her. By the way, Poe’s camp remains silent on the citizenship of Poe’s American husband. According to Poe, her husband may consider becoming a Filipino citizen again if she wins the presidency.
Although the usual citation of opinions favorable to Poe were quoted in the advertisement, the photograph of the late Fernando Poe Jr., which appeared in the first two advertisements, is missing. In its stead is a circular symbol bearing the phrase “Bangsamoro Group for Grace Poe.”
That phrase clearly indicates that Poe is in favor of the proposed but discredited Bangsamoro Basic Law. Being so, every voter opposed to the dismemberment of the Republic of the Philippines and against the creation of a Malaysian satellite substate in Mindanao should oppose Poe’s presidential bid.
Worse, it appears that in exchange for the support of those behind the BBL, Poe has already committed herself (and the national government if she becomes president) to the approval of the BBL. In this sense, Poe is no different from President Benigno Aquino III who desperately wants the BBL railroaded by Congress through his loyal partymates—House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon. Fortunately, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. almost single-handedly stopped Aquino from forcing the BBL on the people.
If Poe is in favor of the BBL, then there may be truth to the story that Poe is the alternate candidate of Malacañang if the campaign of Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas does not pick up steam any time soon.
It will be recalled that although Poe won her disqualification case in the Senate Electoral Tribunal by a slim 5-4 majority, she lost in the disqualification cases filed against her in the Comelec. Both sets of rulings were appealed to the SC.
In its comment filed in Poe’s SET case in the SC, the Office of the Solicitor General sided with her and agreed with the ruling of the SET. In effect, the OSG rejected the decision of the Comelec in the separate disqualification cases filed against Poe. That measure is an issue in itself.
As the official lawyer of the Republic of the Philippines, the Solicitor General is expected to consult the President of the Philippines regarding sensitive political cases. That description is broad enough to include Poe’s disqualification cases—which pit the Comelec against the SET, and which may mean a potential conflict with the separate opinions of the three justices of the SC in the SET. Thus, what the OSG did in the SET case may be another indication that Poe is President Aquino’s Plan B.
Last week, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista revealed to the news media that the comment filed by the Comelec in Poe’s SET case in the SC did not have the official approval of the poll body. Bautista disclosed that although the comment was submitted by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, he and the other commissioners were not consulted about it. For her part, Guanzon said that she acted in accordance with the authority given to her by the Comelec.
Poe’ camp quickly branded Guanzon and the commissioners who voted against Poe in the disqualification cases as “biased commissioners.” In doing so, Poe’s camp made it appear to the news media that Poe did not get a fair chance in the hands of Guanzon and the Comelec commissioners who voted against their candidate.
The reaction of Poe’s camp is an overkill. Whether or not Guanzon’s comment was authorized by the Comelec has nothing to do with how Poe’s disqualification cases were resolved by the poll body. Even assuming that Guanzon had no authority to file the comment, that comment is merely an unauthorized pleading, and the Comelec can request the SC for time to file an authorized pleading. That’s all there is to that.
Another staunch Poe supporter publicly reiterated his view that the SC should allow Poe to run for president, and cited several reasons.
First—a foundling is entitled to social justice, which means that one who has less in life should have more in law. Social justice, however, has no bearing here. Poe may be a foundling but she certainly isn’t one who has “less in life” as indicated in the comfortable life she had and currently has.
Second—in case of doubt, courts should allow one to run for public office. There is, however, no doubt to resolve in favor of Poe, because she is clearly disqualified under the Constitution from running for president.
Third—the SC has decided that a natural-born Filipino citizen who became an alien can reacquire natural-born citizenship upon repatriation. That ruling does not apply to Poe, who is not a natural-born Filipinon citizen to begin with.
Fourth—international conventions allow a foundling to run for president. That is not so. Those conventions require Congress to enact a law to that effect, and there is none so far.
Finally—Poe enjoys certain presumptions which allow her to run for president. If that is so, then the Comelec has no authority to disallow perceived nuisance candidates from running for public office, and that it will have to permit just about anybody to run for president. Good grief!