MANILA, Oct 21 (Mabuhay) – The camp of Sen. Grace Poe has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) for more time to submit the results of DNA testing to trace her family, amid lingering questions on her citizenship.
SET spokesperson and secretary Irene Guevarra said on Wednesday the lawmaker’s camp had requested a two-week extension for the submission of the DNA results. The camp’s deadline was supposed to be today.
“Her counsel filed a motion for extension to submit until Nov. 5,” Guevarra said.
She said that the SET has yet to rule on whether or not to approve the extension plea, adding that copies of the motion have yet to be distributed to the nine members of the tribunal.
Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian and legal counsel, George Garcia, both confirmed that their camp sought an extension because they have yet to get the results.
“We are still waiting for the results of the DNA to come back. Rest assured we will follow the parameters and guidelines set forth by the SET,” Gatchalian said.
During oral arguments conducted by the SET at the Supreme Court last month, Poe’s lawyer, Alexander Poblador, revealed that Poe had undergone DNA testing.
The oral argument was conducted in connection with a petition from defeated 2013 senatorial bet Rizalito David, seeking Poe’s disqualification from the Senate on grounds of her citizenship.
Poblador clarified that resorting to DNA testing did not mean Poe’s lawyers were abandoning their original position on Poe’s presumed nationality despite being a foundling.
“[Our statement on DNA testing is] without prejudice to our legal position. We do not have the burden of proof and that we have the presumption of law in our favor,” Poblador said then.
Poe’s lawyer told the nine-member SET that he had been authorized to reveal that Poe was already “in the process” of having DNA testing for a “probable biological match.”
“Respondent [Poe] has taken steps towards having a DNA test conducted with a probable biological match. And when results come out, we will disclose the results,” said Poblador.
Poe herself confirmed last month that she underwent a DNA test to prove that she was a Filipino and born of Filipino parents.
“Nasa proseso na (ang DNA test). Sila ang lumapit sa akin, hindi ko sasabihin kung kilala ko noon pa sapagkat magkakaroon pa ng spekulasyon,” Poe told reporters.
SET chairman SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio welcomed the DNA testing, saying that would give a “conclusive presumption of filiation.”
Two similar petitions have been filed before the Commission on Elections since Poe filed her certificate of candidacy.
The latest petition was filed Tuesday afternoon by political science professor Antonio Contreras. (MNS)