Wednesday, March 23, 2016

If Poe wins in the elections, could she lose in PET? | Inquirer Opinion

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This brings up another potential major turbulence: If Poe wins (which is very likely, as recent public surveys show), can her closest rivals bring another suit for disqualification, this time before the PET, invoking its “primary and exclusive jurisdiction” over the qualifications of a “proclaimed” president?

In such cases, the Supreme Court en banc just morphs into the PET. Can the current Sereno-driven juggernaut be used as a foil against such forum-shopping? And for that matter, has it rendered the pending appeal on certiorari to the Supreme Court en banc against the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s decision in favor of Poe moot and academic?

And here’s the harbinger of things yet to come: Justice Mariano del Castillo, writer of the minority opinion, strongly suggests that the majority decision rests on “shaky grounds.” He has five other justices on his side, while Chief Justice Sereno has eight (with two—Peralta and Caguioa—unsure about the lengths to which Sereno et al. went in the decision in question).

Thus, with two of Sereno’s eight noncommittal about the qualification issues, will there be another showdown? Can the Supreme Court en banc, sitting as the PET and by a realignment of biases commanding a new majority, still rule to bar Poe from the presidency in defiance of the regular Supreme Court en banc’s ruling to let her go for it? Confused? Don’t follow me—I’m lost, too! Well, only in the Philippines!


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