Main issue: Did Poe lie in her COC?
OF ALL the “spoiled brats” in public “service,” the Supreme Court justices must take the cake for conceit and superciliousness! While other government functionaries squirm at the thought of being investigated for dereliction of duty, those high magistrates don’t give a hoot about public accountability. Unbound by any time constraints despite any perceived “urgency,” they fancy themselves to be “gods” who are above all the cares and concerns of mere mortals! The Court’s spokesperson, Theodore Te, said this in a more roundabout way (“SC: No comment on Drilon’s complaint on Poe’s DQ case,” News, 2/12/16).
Another example: The Constitution clearly mandates that the Supreme Court “shall” decide cases within two years, but this responsibility the justices have chosen to interpret in a self-serving way: at our own convenience. “Hindi namin pinapansin yan,” remarked a retired Supreme Court justice (“What about the Supreme Court?” Opinion, 5/9/13), virtually changing “shall” to “may.” Yet, they themselves have pontificated in “well-settled jurisprudence” that “shall” connotes a “mandatory duty” and have in fact been punishing inferior magistrates who failed to live up to such responsibility.
Thus, it is not surprising that the Supreme Court has been ignoring House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (“Speaker urges SC to rule on Poe DQ case soonest,” Inquirer.net, 1/5/16) and Senate President Franklin Drilon (“What’s taking Poe case so long?” Second Front Page, 2/11/16) who have publicly appealed for a speedy resolution of Sen. Grace Poe’s disqualification case in view of the public interest involved. The Feb. 13 Inquirer editorial (“Of the highest urgency”) seems likewise bound to be sneezed at!
The urgent need to decide the case is obvious: The May presidential election is imminently just around the bend.
And the dire thing was the episodic “oral arguments” which were supposed to be only about whether or not the Commission on Elections was correct in canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy on the ground that she “misrepresented” herself to be a natural-born Filipino.
If the Supreme Court majority decides that the Comelec has no jurisdiction over the qualification issues raised against Poe, then there is no problem. But if it upholds the Comelec’s decision disqualifying Poe from the presidential race, what would that make of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which the Constitution says is the “sole judge” of any presidential candidate’s qualifications, look like? By going so deep and beyond the main issue involved in the cancellation of Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC), the Court may be biting off more than it can chew!
If the Supreme Court had only limited the issue (as it should have) to whether or not Poe “deliberately lied” in her COC about her citizenship status—despite the absence of any clear-cut jurisprudence on the matter (and therefore everybody’s opinion is just as good or bad as anybody else’s)—precious time might have been saved from going to waste and the issue settled posthaste!
—ULYSSES B. UY, email@example.com