The neophyte senator disclosed that SET affirmed its original ruling and dismissed the motion for consideration filed by defeated senatorial candidate and now presidential aspirant Rizalito David, who was deemed to have failed to submit new evidence or arguments against her.
The SET, composed of three Supreme Court justices and six senators, had ruled that Poe is a natural-born Filipino and is qualified to serve as senator of the Republic.
Poe immediately lauded the wisdom of her colleagues, who “as lawmakers do not only consider technicalities but also the intent of the law.” She added: “This is also a victory for the more than 20 million Filipinos who voted for me in 2013.”
Senators Vicente Sotto III, Cynthia Aguilar Villar, Lorna Regina Loren Legarda, Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino and Juliana Pilar Pia Cayetano voted in favor of Sen. Poe, pointing out that foundlings born and raised in the Philippines are not considered naturalized or stateless, but natural-born citizens of the country and deserve due entitlements, services and protection from the state.
“Like you, foundlings have the right to serve the country,” said Poe. “Tuloy pa rin ang trabaho natin sa Senado. Pero marami pa ring hamon na dapat nating pagtagumpayan (Our work continues at the Senate, but there remain challenges to triumph over).”
SET’s final decision on Thursday, Dec. 3, came out two days after the Comelec’s 2nd Division ruled that there were “material misrepresentations” in the presidential candidate’s COC with regard to residency and thus was disqualified to run for president in the 2016 presidential elections. Poe had appealed the ruling to the Comelec panel and the Comelec en banc.
Poe’s camp has consistently argued that statements made in her 2013 COC do not and should not be held binding, as the Supreme Court has previously decided in a separate but similar case.
Poe urged Comelec to look beyond the COC and consider the other pieces of evidence that her camp submitted to prove her “fact of residence”, such as passport markings, tax identification number, purchase of property in the country, and enrollment of her children in Philippine schools.
Another piece of documentary evidence presented by Poe but apparently ignored by the Comelec division, was a questionnaire Poe accomplished at the US Embassy, where she stated that she ceased to reside in the United States as early as 2005.
Her lawyer George Garcia said, “this, among others, proves that the senator had no intention to lie or mislead in her COC.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, a lawyer and a senatorial aspirant, welcomed the SET decision standing by its original ruling to junk the disqualification case against Poe.
“This decision strengthens the fact that she is indeed a natural-born Filipino citizen,” Colmenares said. “This is also shows that the complainants have not presented any new evidence to prove their case,” he added.