MANILA — The oral arguments on Tuesday at the Supreme Court on the disqualification cases against Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares in the May 9, 2016 presidential elections took up the start of counting of the period of her residency in the country.

Atty. Alexander Poblador, counsel of Poe, stressed that the counting should start on May 24, 2005, which was when the senator began staying in the country as her domicile.

Poblador said that this was the time when Poe returned to the Philippines, when she decided to permanently relocate in the Philippines, stay in the country with her mother and purchased properties such as a condominium unit.

He added that it was also in 2005 when Poe secured in the Philippines her tax identification number (TIN).

However, Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo observed that it was not clear whether Poe merely secured a TIN to process the properties left by her departed father.

Del Castillo would like to scrutinize how determined was Poe in deciding to stay permanently in the country.

If the declaration of Poe in her 2013 certificate of candidacy (CoC) stating that she erred in the information will be made as basis, it would appear that the residency of Poe in the country will only start in April 2006 and not in May 2005.

This was agreed upon by Poblador, but said that if the jurisprudence on domicile will prevail, the period of residency of Poe should start on May 24, 2005.

He argued that Poe did not know this matter when she processed her CoC in 2013 since she is not a lawyer.

It can be recalled that one of the pieces of evidence of the petitioners in the cancellation of Poe’s CoC for president is her 2013 CoC in the sense that it can be considered as an admission on the part of Poe that she did not comply with the 10-year minimum residency requirement to run for president.

The petitioners in the disqualification cases of Poe atthe Commission on Elections (Comelec), who are now the respondents in the petition of Poe before the SC, noted that if the declaration of Poe in her 2013 CoC that she had been residing for six and a half years in the country as of the 2013 elections will be made as basis, it would appear that she shall have been living in the country for nine years and six months only come the 2016 elections. PNA/northboundasia.com