SET denies disqualification case against Poe

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Sen. Grace Poe

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino.

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on Tuesday (November 17) denied the petition filed by Rizalito David to disqualify Poe, voting 5-4 in favor of the senator.

The electoral tribunal is composed of three Supreme Court (SC) justices and six senators.

 

Those who voted in favor of Poe were Sens. Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Bam Aquino, Cynthia Villar and Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Associate Justice Arturo Brion, and Sen. Nancy Binay voted to disqualify Poe.

However, this doesn't mean the case is over. David has 10 days to appeal the case, which the tribunal will resolve before December 10.

The disqualification case was filed at the SET by David, who said Poe should be unseated from the Senate for being unqualified to run as a senator in the 2013 elections. Poe's residency and citizenship requirements were also questioned.

The SET had earlier dropped the issue on the senator's residency and said that they would only tackle whether or not Poe was a natural-born Filipino.

David had also filed a separate criminal complaint against the lady lawmaker at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and four disqualification cases were also filed against Poe's presidential candidacy.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the Comelec divisions hearing the various cases in their own deliberations will take into consideration the SET's ruling.

Poe thanks senators who voted in her favor

Poe was in Laguna for a series of consultation with various sectors and students when she received the news.

The senator said the SET decision not only upheld her qualification as a senator, "but also the desire of Filipinos to be led by better leaders."

 

Poe prayed inside a chapel, and thanked her mother, her husband and kids. She also thanked her fellow senators who voted in her favor.

Case is strong, says David's lawyer

Manuelito Luna, David's lawyer, has yet to receive an official notice from the SET but has been summoned to the court, along with Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia. Luna said that his client will make an appeal if they find the voting was in fact favorable to Poe.

But despite the decision, Luna said the case against Poe is strong since the magistrates voted against her.

“I am confident because if the justices sided with us, then it’s a victory for us," said Luna. "And they should be worried because if none of the justices sided with them, they should be worried because they will get the reversal from the Supreme Court and there’s no sure win for them in the Comelec.”

Luna added that if the tribunal stands by its position, the case will be taken to the Supreme Court.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario, David Santos and JC Gotinga contributed to this report.