SC’s final decision: ‘Grace Poe can run for president’

The Supreme Court (SC) allowed Senator Grace Poe to run for presidency in the 2016 elections.

In a report by Rappler, the SC en banc on March 8, voted 9-6 to reverse the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC). Justice Mariano del Castillo wrote the decision.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was among the 9 justices who voted in favor of Poe. The rest are Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Benjamin Caguioa.

Of the 9, four are appointees of President Benigno Aquino III: Sereno, Leonen, Jardeleza and Caguioa.

The 6 justices who voted against Poe are Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Mariano del Castillo, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Bienvenido Reyes.

Of the 6, two are appointes of Aquino: Bernabe and Reyes. Three of them – Carpio, Brion and De Castro – were part of the Senate Electoral Tribunal that earlier voted in favor of Poe. The 3 justices dissented in that SET verdict, insisting that Poe is not a natural-born citizen.

The High Court heard oral arguments on the case for 5 Tuesdays, from January 19 to February 16. The SC justices interpellated Poe’s counsel Alex Poblador, Comelec’s lead counsel Arthur Lim, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, and former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez.

During the oral arguments, the views of at least 3 justices showed they were leaning toward recognizing Poe as a natural-born Filipino and as having established residency before running for president: Sereno, Leonen and Jardeleza.

During their interpellations, Sereno and Leonen focused on the rights of foundlings, while Jardeleza expressed his concern that the Comelec might have deprived Poe of her rights to due process.

Poe fought disqualification cases against her before 3 bodies: the SET, Comelec, and the SC.

It was a close vote at the SET. In November 2015, the SET voted 5-4 to deny the petition to disqualify Poe from the 2013 senatorial polls.

A month later, in December 2015, the Comelec en banc decided to dismiss Poe’s appeal to allow her to run.

The commissioners voted separately on the two cases involving the senator’s citizenship and residency requirements: the one handled by the First Division and the other by the Second Division. Both divisions previously ruled against Poe