MANILA – Senator Grace Poe and running mate Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero welcomed on Tuesday the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) that boosts Poe’s presidential bid in the 2016 national elections.

”It boosted my affirmation that I am qualified to run for president,” Poe said in a press statement.

Poe thanked the SC for upholding its first temporary restraining order (TRO) against the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel the lady senator’s certificate of candidacy (Coc) for president.

”This decision is favorable not only to my case and to my supporters but to democracy as a whole,” Poe said.

Escudero, for his part, also thanked the SC magistrates for upholding the TRO and for granting the request of Poe’s camp to consolidate all the petitions to disqualify the lady senator.

”This confirms that Senator Grace Poe remains a candidate for president and whose name stays on the official ballot, notwithstanding the orchestrated efforts to disqualify her,” Escudero said.

Escudero is also hoping that the High Court will also uphold the laws and long established jurisprudence “when it decides on the other petitions in connection with the candidacy of Senator Grace.”

Voting 12-3, the SC en banc on Tuesday confirmed the TRO issued by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in favor of Poe.

The SC en banc ordered the inclusion of the name of Poe in the ballot for the presidency by confirming the stay order issued in her favor last Dec. 28, 2015.

The High Court argued that the merits of the case remain pending and even some of the justices who viewed that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino citizen might give a chance to Poe to be included in the ballot since it is just a TRO in her favor.

The oral arguments on these cases are set on Jan. 19, 2016 at 2 p.m. at the SC en banc Session Hall.

The SC also ordered the consolidation of the petitions of Poe against the Comelec decision disqualifying her to run in the May 9, 2016 presidential elections and the inhibition of the three SC justices who are members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

The three SC justices are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo Brion.

The three justices voted in favor of Rizalito David’s petition to disqualify Poe as senator based on her citizenship and residency requirements.

Late last year, the Comelec en banc upheld the rulings of the two divisions to disqualify Poe, this time, as presidential candidate, prompting the lady senator to elevate the case to the SC.

The petitioners seeking Poe’s disqualification as presidential aspirant include: lawyer Estrella Elamparo, former Senator Francisco Tatad, political science professor Antonio Contreras and University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez. PNA / northboundasia.com