‘Poe-quino’ secret pact sealed High Court’s greenlighting Grace’s run
A secret pact between President Aquino and Sen. Grace Poe reportedly was sealed prior to the Supreme Court (SC) ruling to turn down the appeals by parties questioning her qualification to run for president.
One of the respondents, former senator Francisco Tatad, said Poe met with Aquino about a week before the SC denied the motions for reconsideration (MR) to reverse the March 8 ruling allowing her to run for president, despite her not having met the constitutional requirements for presidential candidates.
Tatad said he had received information that the supposed meeting took place in Aquino’s official residence at Bahay Pangarap situated within Malacañang’s premises.
He said the meeting took place “to help each other” in the upcoming elections.
Aquino reportedly gave administration candidate Mar Roxas up to April 25 to improve his standing, or the administration machinery will rally behind Poe.
In the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted in March, the survey’s graph shows that although Rodrigo Duterte, PDO-Laban presidential candidate and Poe, an independent candidate for the presidency, placing first and second places respectively, both are on a downward trend while Vice President Jojo Binay of United Nationalist Alliance and Roxas, despite being number three and four respectively in the survey are clearly on an upwrard trend.
A political analysts said, with the +/-3 error margin, it’s still a tight race and it will be machinery and organization that will spell the difference. Only Binay and Roxas have the organization and machinery.
It is hardly any secret that the presidential sisters and Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa are rooting for Poe, and not the Liberal Party standard bearer, Mar Roxas.
Tatad, in his column yesterday, said highly reputable Malacañang sources have revealed that a private meeting between President Aquino and Poe, took place a week before the High Court met in Baguio City on April 5 which had paved the way for the pro “Poe-quino” Justices to declare the former American citizen of no known biological parentage “qualified” to run for President of the Philippines.
A Tribune source who is close to the Roxas camp and asked for anonymity, said the LP does not feel threatened by the so-called secret pact, that if true Poe is the “secret presidential candidate” of Aquino, it is unlikely that the LP strategists and other L P officials will just sit back and take it.
“It is not President Noy who calls the shots in the Liberal Party at this late stage. This is one of the reasons he (Aquino) failed to convince the LPs to get Poe as the LP’s standard bearer much earlier. The LPs were strongly against the idea, although they did not mind having Poe as their vice presidential candidate,” the source told The Tribune.
Apparently, the protection Poe had promised Aquino does not extend to other LP officials, which is why there is a strong resistance from the LP organization to back up Poe.
“If you think that the Roxas aligned LP will just take it, you are wrong. The talk of Poe being the ‘secret candidate’ of President Noy and of the Ochoa group has been going on for a long time. They (Roxas camp) have already made preparations for this scenario for some time,” the source said,
Poe’s running mate, Sen. Chiz Escudero apparently is in the dark on this “secret pact” between Aquino and his presidential bet, which does not include him, as he claimed yesterday that the leadership of the Liberal Party is allegedly preventing some of their ranks who are already poised to defect to the camp of the independent tandem from joing them.
Escudero bared this yesterday in an interview with reporters as he initially hinted at the alleged pressure coming from within a group.
“It is not a partnership when it it is based on fear. It is not a partnership or union that has no respect for each and everyone and it is also not right to use one’s power to propel the administration party as of now,” Escudero said.
Pressure is now on against some LP members already prepared to align themselves with the Poe-Escudero tandem, which explains why they have yet to publicly come out and pledge their commitment to the said tandem, the senator said.
“They (the LP leaders) are now calling each and every member whenever they talk about defecting. But I believe that they (defectors) cannot be forced to choose which candidate the people want to support, It is the same thing with local officials,” Escudero stressed.
Escudero would not provide details such as specific persons or numbers of those they expect to align with them saying that this could further fuel or intensify whatever intimidation is being exerted against ally-LP members.
Escudero would not pass up on this issue, saying that such underhanded tactics by the LP is in contradiction to the “tuwid na daan” or straight path policy of the present administration.
Escudero and Poe are known for their spins. It is more possible that they have been trying to recruit other party members, whether from the camp of Roxas or Binay, failing to get more supporters who can give them the votes they need.
He added that he will be filing a case against the four PNP (Philippine National Police) generals and other officers involved in that secret meeting.
Escudero earlier announced plans of the camp filing a complaint accusing Cerbo and three police generals for engaging in partisan politics or electioneering after they were spotted attending a supposed confidential meeting of LP in Novotel Hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.
Escudero is not inclined to believe in the alibi given by concerned PNP officials led by Cerbo and Chief Superintendents Rainer Idio, Bernardo Diaz and Ronald Santos that it was just a chance encounter with a staff of Roxas at the said hotel.
Yesterday, Tatad, together with counsel Manuelito Luna went to the Supreme Court to file a second motion for reconsideration to seek a reversal of its ruling that gave greenlight for Poe candidacy.
Last Saturday, the Supreme Court En Banc released from Baguio a minute resolution denying the Motions for Reconsideration filed by the Commission on Elections and private respondents Estrella Elamparo, Francisco S. Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez on the Court’s March 8 decision voiding the Comelec’s disqualification of Mrs. Llamanzares, for falsely misrepresenting herself as a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for 10 years and 11 months immediately preceding the May 9 elections.
A one and one-half page Notice, signed by Clerk of Court Felipa B. Anama, said all the issues raised in the MRs “had already been passed” upon by the Court in its March 8 ruling, and that “no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned Decision.” Thus, the Court denied the Motions by the same vote of 9-6, with which it had earlier declared Mrs. Llamanzares “qualified” to run for President.
As to why the Court issued a minute resolution rather than a full-blown decision, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, in her concurring opinion, explained that under the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, a minute resolution may be used to deny a motion for reconsideration “in the absence of a compelling or cogent reason to grant the motion, or the failure to raise any substantial argument to support such motion.”
A second MR prohibited under the rules of the SC did not deter Tatad in filing a second one on Poe’s eligibility to run for president.
The SC issued a final ruling on junking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision to disqualify Poe for misrepresen-tation in her certificate of candidacy.
Tatad’s counsel, Manuelito Luna, filed yesterday at 2 p.m. a second MR in which it will ask the SC to make a proper decision on the Poe case.
Luna in a statement said the egregious error committed by the nine members of the SC had reached the level of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and, thus, renders the decision on Poe’s certiorari petition - a limited form of review under Rule 6 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court — and the subsequent resolution on the respondents MRs patently, null and void.
“The people may recall that in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani — on the partylist system — it also gravely abused its discretion by misconstruing the clear terms of the Constitution, only to correct itself in the case of Atong Paglaum and consolidated cases,” he said.
Luna said he happened to be the counsel for one of the petitioning partylist groups in the case.
He, however, added the mentioned case was “nothing compared to the constitutional breaches committed in Poe’s case which involved the highest and most powerful position of the land no less.”
“I’m telling you there is no more rule of law; the biases of (Chief Justice Maria Lourdes) Sereno, et al. had gotten the better of them resulting in the accommodation of a patently nuisance candidate.”
Luna said the suggestion of the nine for a petition for quo warranto to be filed in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), if she wins, to assail her citizenship qualification is naughty. He noted that seven of them already said that Poe is eligible.
“What chances do we have to get a favorable ruling?,” he asked. “Clearly, they were giving the people - the political sovereign and the authors of the Constitution - a runaround,” he added.
“In light of these, it is warrantable to disregard the decision as well as the ruling. Anyway, no majority of the Court said that she is a natural-born Filipino and a resident here for 10 years,” Luna added.
Luna said the motion will contain arguments against the “constitutionality of the findings in the April 5 resolution” disposing the appeal filed by Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, political science professor Antonio Contreras, former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez and the Commission on Elections.
Under SC rules, a second motion for reconsideration is prohibited but it can be entertained if two thirds of the 15-man SC or 10 justices would grant it “in the higher interest of justice,” according to Section 3, Rule 15 of the Internal Rules of the SC.