Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the position of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) recognizing Sen. Grace Poe as a natural-born Filipino citizen only bolsters the Commission of Elections’ (COMELEC) wrong and unfair decision against his presidential running mate.
According to Escudero, the OSG’s comment submitted to the Supreme Court runs contrary to the decision of the COMELEC to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president on grounds of citizenship and residency.
In a 27-page comment filed with the high court in connection with the petition filed by defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David challenging the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) which ruled that Poe is qualified to hold public office, the OSG maintained that the senator is a natural-born Filipino.
“The Solicitor General, the statutorily appointed lawyer of the Philippine government, and 10 other solicitors are of the firm belief that Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino. This is vindication for the majority of the SET, who were criticized by some sectors for deciding supposedly based on political and emotional considerations,” said Escudero, the frontrunner in various pre-election surveys for vice president.
“No less than the OSG recognizes that the Constitution and its framers never wanted to discriminate against foundlings and that foundlings were always meant to be natural-born Filipinos-which is what Sen. Grace has been saying all along,” he added.
The OSG, led by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, has also told the high tribunal that it will not file a comment on behalf of the COMELEC, citing its position in the SET case.
Escudero said he is confident that the magistrates will see the logic and legal arguments of the OSG when they convene to tackle Poe’s petition seeking to reverse the rulings of the COMELEC to disqualify her from the presidential race.
“From the beginning, the poll body did not hide its bias against Sen. Grace. The COMELEC acted unfairly on her filings and dismissed the voluminous documentary evidence she submitted that would prove her accusers wrong,” the veteran senator said.
He added: “I believe that even our own government lawyers would find it difficult to defend the COMELEC.”#