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David appeals SET ruling on Poe's case

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MANILA — Losing 2013 senatorial bet Rizalito David, himself now a presidential aspirant, has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to reconsider its decision by 5-4 vote denying his petition to disqualify Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares as a senator.


David filed his petition for reconsideration before the SET hoping that the senators who voted in favor of Poe will change their decisions, particularly Sen. Juliana Pilar Pia Cayetano and Sen. Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino IV.


Aside from Sens. Cayetano and Aquino, the other senator-members of the SET -- Vicente Sotto, Loren Legarda and Cynthia Villar - voted to dismiss David's petition while all members who are Associate Justices of the Supreme Court - Antonio Carpio,Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion -- voted in favor of disqualification together with Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay.


This developed as the SET made public the dissenting opinions of the three justices while the Commission on Elections readied to hear four disqualification cases filed against Poe on the basis of questionable citizenship and lack of residency.


David said that the ruling was "political" and not based on the provisions of the Constitution and the laws.


"Parang nangyari dito political accommodation, binigyan ng temporary relief si Grace," said David.


David's lawyer, Atty. Manuelito Luna, said they filed their motion for reconsideration before the SET so these senators can "correct themselves."


David said that Sen. Aquino should not have agreed to dismiss the case after considering Sen. Poe's status as a foundling. Aquino earlier said he cast a "conscience vote" favoring Poe because doing otherwise would mean deeming other foundlings as stateless or naturalized citizens.


"Iyun talaga ang medyo mabigat na because of an electoral case, iyung libo-libong foundling at lahat ng ipapanganak pa na foundling, mag-iiba iyung status nila from natural-born to either naturalized or stateless," he said.


"Feeling ko maling-mali ang ginawa niyang reasoning dun ano. Sa kaso ni Grace Poe Llamanzares, magiging pareho na rin ang ruling mo dun sa ibang foundling na kunwari ay tatakbong senador o congressman, presidente o bise presidente in the past. There are only about 4,500 registered foundlings since 1950 and how many of them are running for president. That is totally wrong for him to say that when he made his decision, he made it on concern of the foundlings," David said.


Meanwhile, he is also hoping that Senator Pia Cayetano will also change her position because she did not submit any written concurring opinion.


Sen. Cayetano's next move with regard to Poe's case is being closely watched as her brother, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, is the presumptive running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier said he is now running for president because he does not want to see an "American president," according to an ABS-CBN report.


Poe's running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, admitted he is concerned about the possibility of Sen. Cayetano considering David's appeal. The lady senator was supposedly the swing vote that provided the initial victory for Poe.


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