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Grace Poe disqualified by full Comelec, vows to stay in race; FilAms assail poll body's decision

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(Photo from Business World)


QUEZON CITY/LOS ANGELES (via PhilAmPress/MTVi) — Presidential aspirant Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares is still in the presidential race despite the back-to-back decisions of two divisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her which the Comelec en banc affirmed.


There is no official ruling by the Comelec en banc as of press time but sources at the Comelec have indicated that the poll body en banc issued a ruling on appeal Tuesday that effectively voids the candidacy of Senator and presidential aspirant Grace Poe in next year's national election.


This as an independent survey group, Laylo Research, reported that Poe has maintained her top position among presidentiables. She is followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodolfo Duterte and Manuel Roxas II.


The source said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista indicated that the majority of the en banc voted in favor of Poe's disqualification.


Disturbed by the premature leaking of the supposed decision junking her twin motions for reconsideration on the disqualification case, the camp of Senator Poe asked the Comelec to investigate the matter.


“This is highly irregular and we believe that the Comelec should look into this seriously,” Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, spokesman of Poe, said in a statement issued in response to the supposed leak.


 Gatchalian said that “if reports are to be believed the timing of the release of the supposed decision is also suspect.”


“Why release the decision in haste when the holiday breaks are upon us. Is it meant to disadvantage Sen. Poe's legal response?” Gatchalian asked.


Gatchalian said they have yet to receive a copy of the decision, and they will exhaust all legal remedies by filing a petition before the Supreme Court.


“We will appeal to the wisdom of the SC. We know that our arguments are based on laws. Sen. Poe is a natural born Filipino and has met the residency requirement,” Gatchalian stated.


Gatchalian expressed confidence that in the end, the Justices of the SC will see the merits of their position.

Filipino American leaders assailed what they said as bias decision of the Comelec.

 "We denounce under unequivocal terms the Comelec en banc decision on leading presidential candidate Grace Poe as tantamount to criminal abuse of discretion and a clear case of criminal discrimination against innocent and powerless citizens of society." they said in a statement released to the Fil-Am press.

The Grace Poe for President Movement-USA led by Jun Caringal said with the Comelec enbanc decision, there is a clear and blatant disregard of evidence, law, jurisprudence, precepts, principles on the matter favorable to Senator Grace's cause.

Caringal told the Fil-Am press that the disqualification cases filed against Grace Poe affects FilAms particularly those voting as dual citizens and registered voters whose voices will be heard and exercise their right to choose the best candidates.

He told the media that the "politics of exclusion being employed by the Comelec" will have a bearing on Fil Ams who have the same predicament as Grace Poe or have the passion to serve our motherland and come back to enter the polical process there as a candidate in the future.

"Imagine, we will be subjected to the same ordeal and expect the same difficulties as Grace Poe is facing now," said Caringal.

As stated by Grace Poe that she will elevate her case to the Supreme Court, the GPPM–USA  decided to field a legal team of experienced Fil-Am lawyers led by Atty Mosqueda to bolster Sen. Grace Poe’s legal battle up to the Supreme Court following the unfavorable decision by the COMELEC enbanc disqualififying Sen. Grace Poe in the presidential race. 

Caringal said that to show their strong resolve to support Poe's presidential bid, his group has already identified 15 major US cities and to be activated with FilAm leaders/coordinators in USA and Canada.


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