Comelec chief: Poll body has jurisdiction over cases vs. Poe

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified her from seeking the presidency, Sen. Grace Poe still has to face three other similar cases already filed at the same office.

Comelec Chairman Andres "Andy" Bautista insisted on Thursday (December 3) that the poll body had jurisdiction over Poe's cases — contrary to a statement made by his predecessor Sixto Brillantes Jr. that only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can disqualify a president.

"Mawalang-galang kay former Chairman Brillantes, pero sa aking palagay, mali yung kanyang sinabi. Ang jurisdiction ng Presidential Electoral Tribunal, sa election returns and qualification of a president, only comes into play pagkatapos ng halalan, at pagkatapos ng proclamation. Yan ang nakasaad sa ating saligang batas," Bautista said.

[Translation: "With all due respect to former Chairman Brillantes, what he said was wrong. The jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal comes into play after the elections and the proclamation. That is what the Constitution provides."]

Bautista said before the elections, resolving issues like a candidate's qualification rests with the Comelec.

Contreras, Tatad and Valdez cases

Antonio Contreras, a political science professor at the De La Salle University, submitted his memoranda on his petitions to block Poe's candidacy.

Former Sen. Francisco "Kit" Tatad also submitted his on Wednesday (December 2), while constitutionalist Amado Valdez, former dean of the College of Law of the University of the East has yet to submit his.

The memoranda filed by Contreras summarized the arguments of the cases against Poe, including his response to arguments from Poe's camp.

The First Division will be tackling the three petitions against Poe.

The petition of lawyer Estrella Elamparo, Tatad, and Valdez all insist on Poe not being a natural-born Filipino.

On the other hand, Contreras focused on Poe's residency.

Only Tatad is seeking for Poe's disqualification, while the other cases are seeking cancellation of her COC.

If Poe should win in the First Division, the cases would be elevated to the Comelec en banc, which would have the last say.

But if at least one case to disqualify Poe should prevail, she would be disqualified.

Poe's lawyer, George Garcia, filed on Thursday memoranda defending his client against the allegations of Contreras and Valdez.

CNN Philippines' JC Gotinga contributed to this report.