A jail term of at least six years is in store for Senator Grace Poe if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) finds her guilty of misrepresentation in her Certicate of Candidacy (COC) in the 2013 election.
The case filed in August by Rizalito David accused Poe of “material misrepresentation” in the (COC) she filed in 2013 in the Comelec.
The Comelec said it would decide the case in December and has given Poe until November 13 to file her counter-affidavit.
Under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, the COC is considered a sworn statement by the person filing it to announce his/her candidacy for a particular public office.
A violation of the said provision can be considered 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.
The embattled Poe, a andidate in the 2016 presidential race, is also facing a disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) questioning her residency and citizenship required under the Constitution of candidates running for President. The case was also filed by David.
Two other complaints have been filed against Poe at the Comelec, aside from David’s.
“The gravamen of the offense is material misrepresentation. As [Poe] misrepresented her citizenship, her period of residence and her eligibility to run for senator, these transgressions should be penalized accordingly,” David said in the 20-page affidavit-complaint he filed in the Comelec law department.
David said the nature of the cases filed in the Comelec and in the SET were different.
He explained that the case filed in the SET was simply a challenge for her to justify that she should continue sitting as a senator.
In the Comelec complaint, David particularly pointed at the material facts Poe declared in her COC, including her statement of being a natural-born Filipino citizen, her period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013, and her being eligible for the office she sought to be elected to.