Time is running out
The Supreme Court should act immediately on the disqualification case against presidential bet, Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, to avert possible political unrest in the Philippines
With little time left before the final printing of the ballots for the May 16 elections, the Supreme Court, known for taking its time in deciding high profile cases, appears to be unperturbed from a possible scenario wherein a disqualified presidential candidate could win in the elections.
This will provoke a sense of frustration and anger among the people, particularly the supporters of Grace Poe, in the event she wins and later on disqualified by the Supreme Court before she could be sworn into office.
This could also spark a series of street demonstrations and public indignations all over the country, and as a result, might compel the government or Congress to declare that there was a failure of election.
Who would then be the duly elected president? Is it going to be the duly elected Vice President?
What happens when the losing presidential candidate in second place files a protest contending that he should be the one who should be installed as president since the winning candidate’s election was declared null and void by the Supreme Court.
To avoid all these possible scenarios, the Supreme Court Justices should heed the advice of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to speed the completion of all oral arguments so that the disqualification case of Llamanzares would be decided before the scheduled printing of ballots and avoid what could be an ugly scenario in case the lady senator wins and then gets disqualified.
The Comelec warned that should the Supreme Court fail to resolve the case against Grace Poe by February 1, the senator’s name will be included in the official ballots for presidential candidates.
The Comelec, according to Chairman Andres Bautista’s statement, is now in the process of completing the list of candidates in preparation for the printing of the official ballots next month.
I find it ridiculous as to why the Supreme Court is allowing the Comelec to include the name of Grace Poe in the ballot, given that she may eventually be disqualified to run for president because of her natural-born citizenship issue and residency requirement since she also used to be US citizen – this particular issue alone is a whole story in itself.
Unless there is some sinister scheme being plotted by President Aquino and his allies, with the concurrence of colluding justices who may interpret the constitutional requirements for individuals running for public office the way her detractors would want it, Grace Poe still cannot be counted out.
I’m afraid that the entire members of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, a known stooge of the President, may be persuaded or even convinced by Malacañang to grant a favorable ruling on the petition of Grace Poe to reverse two previous Comelec rulings nullifying her certificate of candidacy based on her questionable citizenship issue and residency requirement. And if this happens, then she may well be the “candidate” as Mar Roxas continues to struggle in the polls.
Disqualification cases were filed separately against Grace Poe by four individuals – former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, professor Antonio Conteras and law dean Amado Valdez.
As of this writing, Grace Poe’s popularity is again on the upswing by portraying herself as a helpless abandoned daughter who is being prevented from running for president simply because of her being declared stateless.
As of now, her only chance of pursuing her lofty presidential ambition is in the hands of Supreme Court Justices.
It should be noted however that there were previous rulings handed down the high court nullifying the election of a town Mayor in Mindanao after he was found to be still using his American passport even after he “gave up” his American citizenship.
Another town executive also in Mindanao was also ordered removed by the Supreme Court after he failed to satisfy the court that he was able to meet the residency requirements prior to filing of his certificate of candidacy.
There is little time for the Supreme Court to decide on the merits of the case. I hope these justices will make their decisions based on what is clearly stipulated in the Constitution. They should not let their emotions cloud their judgment and be swayed by what other people are saying for them to advance their own political agenda.
I know the President must be having sleepless nights since his anointed one, Mar Roxas, is still running second to the last among five presidential aspirants, and seemingly has no hope of winning the race. Ergo, make Grace Poe his alternative presidential candidate if only to escape prosecution and persecution from his political enemies once he steps down from his Malacañang Palace.
If it happens, then it is up to the millions of Filipino voters to subvert the evil plan to prevent an “alien” from becoming a President of the Philippines.
The case against Grace Poe is not being a Filipino citizen. It is a case of not being a natural born Filipino citizen.