By Llanesca Panti
The camp of Sen. Grace Poe has slammed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the manner by which it is trying to ease her out of the presidential derby, saying it rejected her defence and, worse, handed down an adverse ruling during the holidays when the Supreme Court is in recess.
“Clearly, the timing of the promulgation of the decision is suspect. The decision’s release was done in haste and timed during the holidays. Their intentions are to undermine our next move by blunting the legal response of Senator Poe, put us in a tight spot, remove her from the ballot and disenfranchise her supporters,” Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesman, said.
“They are out to damage our democracy and electoral process,” Gatchalian added.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Poe’s running mate, called the Comelec a bully for claiming that the lawmaker misled the nation by claiming that she is a natural-born Filipino.
The Comelec en banc disqualified Poe because she is not a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for those running for President.
The commission gave Poe five days to seek a relief from the High Court either by securing a temporary restraining order that would halt implementation of the Comelec decision.
Gatchalian said Poe’s team is determined to fight the “machinations” of the poll body with the timeline given to them.
“We will not let them get away with it. We will file our pleadings,” he added.
Poe, a foundling, has been dislodged from the top spot in the December Pulse Asia survey, landing on the third spot for the first time.
The senator has maintained that though a foundling, she is natural-born.
Escudero took up the fight for Poe on Thursday, blasting the Comelec for saying that Poe “deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate.”
Escudero said Poe has been honest, candid, forthright and open with respect to her citizenship, nationality and residency.
“She has answered every question with candour and honesty both before the Comelec and before the Filipino people. How dare they say that she ‘deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate,’” the senator fumed.
He added that it is the Comelec that is misleading the electorate for pretending to be an independent body when it had been acting as Poe’s inquisitor, persecutor and a bully.
“They acted with dispatch on her disqualification case even before the candidate who claimed his name was ‘Lucifer’,” he said.
“They refused to consolidate the four cases, which are all the same except for the names of the petitioners, if only to require Sen. Poe to answer/appear in the two divisions of the Comelec and be disqualified, not only once but twice, and a third time by the en banc following what appears to be a well written script or play,” Escudero added.
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