MANILA — Senator Grace Poe has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dismiss the election offense case filed against her by Rizalito David in the midst of the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) denying the latter’s motion for reconsideration.
In a five-page Motion to Take Judicial Notice, the presidential aspirant in the May 2016 polls urged the Comelec Law Department to take notice of the decisions of the SET on David’s petition questioning her claims in her Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) in the 2013 polls when she ran for senator.
“All told, given SET’s Decision and Resolution in SET case, respondent submits that this Honorable Commission can no longer find sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that respondent lied in her CoC when she represented that she possessed the citizenship and residency qualifications as senator. The complaint must therefore be dismissed for lack of probable cause,” according to the motion filed by Atty. George Garcia, Poe’s counsel.
It added, “Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Office take judicial notice of the attached Certified True Copy of the Decision dated November 17 and the attached Resolution dated December 3 of the SET case entitled David vs Poe-Llamanzares, and dismiss the complaint for lack of probable cause.”
Garcia noted that the poll body should take judicial notice of matters that are of “public knowledge” as provided by the Rules of Court.
“The SET Decision and Resolution have been the subject of numerous media reports and it is fair to state that almost all Filipinos are aware of the ruling of the SET that respondent is a natural-born Filipino. Accordingly, this Honorable Commission ought to take judicial notice of the SET’s Decision and Resolution,” it said.
Likewise, the motion states that SET’s decision on a similar matter concerning Poe’s 2013 run for senator should be given utmost value considering that it is a Constitutional body.
“Under Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, the SET is the sole judge of all contests relating to the qualifications of members of the Senate. Therefore, the SET Decision and Resolution should be viewed as highly persuasive, if not binding, in this case,” it added.
Earlier, David had filed an election offense case against Poe before the poll body accusing the latter of committing material misrepresentation in her 2013 CoC, particularly her declarations in her citizenship, her period of residence, and her eligibility to run for senator.
Under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, the CoC is considered as a sworn statement by the person filing it to announce his/her candidacy for a particular public office and that violation of the said provision can be considered as an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years of imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office, and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
On Thursday, the SET upheld its Nov. 17 ruling to junk the disqualification case filed by David, saying that Poe is a natural-born Filipino and is, therefore, qualified as an elected senator.
David is looking to elevate the case before the Supreme Court. Ferdinand G. Patinio/PNA