By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region (BicolToday.com) – Vice President hopeful Francis “Chiz” Escudero stands pat leaving to the Supreme Court the final say whether his presidential running mate, Grace Poe, shall continue her candidacy or not.
But, Chiz is worrying the High Court might rule against Poe.
“The Supreme Court also said in that case and I quote, ‘We cannot leave the unelected members of these Court the power and to decide who is the next president will be. That decision is best left to the sovereign Filipino people,’” Escudero said, showing some anxiety and nervousness in his statement sent to online news, BicolToday.com.
Chiz was referring to the SC decision in 2004 over Fernando Poe, Jr (FPJ) whose citizenship was questioned when the actor filed his candidacy for president.
“As they say, let he candidate run and let the people decide who is the next president will be. The Supreme Court cannot and will not choose who our next president will be by disqualification,” he added.
According to Escudero, the high tribunal is fair and would not allow an elected president to win by default.
Escudero’s press statement showed some uneasiness, sent to media outlets hours or a day before the COMELEC First Division on Friday disqualified Poe, marking the second time she was disqualified by the poll body.
Escudero, an independent vice-presidential candidate, is optimistic Poe will achieve justice from the high court after the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) voted in favor of a petition to exclude her from the presidential race.
“Though the COMELEC Second Division decided to disqualify Sen. Grace, at the end of the day it’s the Supreme Court who can disqualify a candidate with finality,” Escudero said. “We are hopeful that if Senator Grace cannot achieve justice from the COMELEC, she will finally achieve justice in the Supreme Court.”
So far, Escudero has not reacted to the latest COMELEC First Division ruling disqualifying again Poe.
There are three other separate petitions pending with the First Division of the poll body seeking to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy on grounds that she allegedly failed to comply with the residency and citizenship requirements of the law.
Escudero, however, said that should the COMELEC en banc uphold these petitions, the only recourse is to seek relief from the high court.
“We are confident that the law is on our side,” said the leading vice-presidential candidate, citing previous Supreme Court rulings involving election-related cases that may serve as precedents in Poe’s pending cases once they reached the high tribunal.
One of these is the SC ruling in 2004 that declared actor Fernando Poe Jr., whose citizenship was also questioned when he ran for president at the time, a natural-born Filipino.
“Under the law, adoptive children take over the rights and the pertinences of a legitimate child. So if you are a legitimate child of a natural-born father, then the status of your citizenship is also natural-born,” he pointed out.
The “King of Philippine Cinema” is the adoptive father of Poe. [BicolToday.com]