Senator Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday praised presidential front-runner Senator Grace Poe for personally appearing at the Senate Electoral Tribunal to answer charges that she had not met residency and citizenship requirements when she ran for a Senate seat in 2013.
“We all know the charges are baseless and politically motivated. If there were doubts about Senator Grace’s qualifications, then they should have been raised when she ran in 2013,” said Escudero.
“That they’re being raised now only reinforce views that she is the strongest candidate in 2016, and the only way to beat her is to get her out of the way,” Escudero explained.
According to the Sorsogon native, Poe deserved credit for answering her accusers and the allegations against her instead of being evasive or non-responsive to the issues raised against her.
“Instead of hiding behind the default defense of ‘pulitika lang ’yan’ [it’s just politics], Senator Grace Poe has chosen to meet her accusers and the allegations head on, confident that the truth, the law, and the people are on her side.”
“Pinapatunayan lang nya na pag wala kang tinatago, wala kang dapat kinakatakutan [If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear]. In any case, the evidence her legal team has provided the tribunal will speak for itself,” the Bicolano senator added.
Poe won the first round of the legal battle instigated by losing senatorial candidate Rizalito David.
In brief proceedings the SET on Friday dropped the question of residency against Poe, removing a major hurdle in a possible presidential run. The only issue now remaining is whether Poe is a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for candidates vying for the highest office of the land.
While Poe’s lawyers have repeatedly stressed the case was filed as part of efforts to derail Poe’s plans to run for higher office, Poe stressed to reporters on Friday that she went to the SET “not because I am running; I came here to defend my person.”
“I am defending myself because what they are doing is wrong,” said Poe.