The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) verdict not to disqualify Senator Grace Poe from running in the 2016 election is a big plus to the presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Despite this perceived benefit for her father, Senator Nancy Binay opted to vote in favor of a petition seeking to disqualify Poe on grounds of being not a natural-born Filipino.
In the SET ruling — 5 against 4 — on November 17, Binay took the side of three Supreme Court Justices – SET chairman Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, chairman, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Associate Justice Arturo Brion – in favor of the disqualification petition filed by Rizalito David.
Poe won her case in the 9-member SET with five senators – Senators Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Vicente Sotto III – voting in favor in her favor.
In a statement, Binay said she voted to disqualify Poe despite political analysts saying that her father would stand to gain if Poe would run in a race with more candidates vying for the presidency.
“With my father’s core supporters intact, the other votes will be split among the other candidates,” she explained.
Aside from independent candidate Poe and Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), two others are running for President: Mar Roxas of the ruling Liberal party and Senator Miriam Santiago.
Her vote with the justices of the Supreme Court was based on, among others, evidence presented by Poe regarding her citizenship and adoption, said Binay in the statement.
“This case is not about my father or the presidential election,” Binay said. “This is about the provisions of the Constitution which each and every Filipino must uphold.”
The Constitution provides that a candidate for President should be a natural-born Filipino, which, Binay said, Poe is not.
She said she voted to disqualify Poe as a senator of the country who is “entrusted by the Filipinos to uphold the law.”