A series of setbacks is too much for a Presidential candidate that would now have to campaign and at the same time defend herself in the legal arena. Second Division Comelec loss 3 – 0. First Division Comelec loss 2 – 1. Future en banc Comelec loss 5 – 2 (assuming the Chair votes in her favor, and that is a very big assumption ) or 5 -1 since the Chair needs to vote only to break a tie. Then there is the Supreme Court appeal that could last for weeks or months. There is even the possibility that the Supreme Court will NOT make a ruling BEFORE the May 2016 elections so, theoretically, Senator Poe can be DISQUALIFIED after she wins the Presidential contest (and that is another big assumption since Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte now has the survey lead and the momentum while Grace was stopped in her tracks and can only go DOWN). At the very least, Senator Poe would have to wage a DEFENSIVE campaign (answering questions about her status as a candidate rather than focusing on her program of action for our country). Then there would be the UNCERTAINTY and CONFUSION brought about by her Comelec DISQUALIFICATION (Is she REALLY a candidate? Will votes for Poe be COUNTED? Will a Poe VICTORY bring her to the Palace to govern for the next 6 years? As President, will there be CONTINUING cases that could UNSEAT her?). A GRACEFUL exit at this time and an ENDORSEMENT of Digong would bring cheers and delight to the Duterte campaign while Grace still has three years on her senatorial term. As the Mar Roxas camp had previously suggested, Senator Poe could run for President in 2022 (her residency status would be okay by that time but her citizenship issues could still hound her).
COMELEC 1ST DIVISION DISQUALIFIES POE FROM 2016 PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Senator Grace Poe was disqualified by the Comelec 1st Division by a vote of 2 – 1. The next step would be an en banc Comelec vote. Five of the seven commissioners have already voted against her (because she lost 3 – 0 in a related case in the 2nd Division), while one voted in her favor (in this 1st Division vote). Thus, only the vote of the Chair has not been revealed but it can not alter the outcome (unless some of those who previously voted to disqualify change their minds). Then there is the Supreme Court route. The issue of whether her name would be included in the ballot also has to be resolved. If yes, then her name would be attached with an ASTERISK (*) to mean that a protest is still in process. She may win the May 2016 elections and still be DISQUALIFIED by the Supreme Court. Suffice it to say that if her name is not included in the ballot, then she can not be voted upon.
The cloud of UNCERTAINTY will test the drawing power of Grace who topped the 2013 Senatorial race. Her greatest problem is the entry of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the Presidential derby. Grace was the survey leader for many months before the on again – off again Davao mayor finally decided to throw his hat in the political ring. The most recent surveys have now put Digong as the survey front-runner. From a nearly constant 15% of the voting population that sided with Duterte during the months when there was no assurance of a Duterte Presdential run, Digong now has 38% of the votes while Grace lost her high 30s to low 40s in terms of voter preference and is now in the mid 20s range. This can only mean that Duterte got most of his increase in acceptance from the formerly Poe voters. Duterte and Poe are relatively new comers in the national scene while Vice President Binay and former Senator Roxas have been in the limelight for years. Both Binay and Roxas are considered as TRAPOs (or traditional politicians) with the nation showing signs of FRUSTRATION on how things are in the Philippines, which merely means that there is a CLAMOR for CHANGE which both Poe and Duterte represent.
A Comelec en banc loss plus the prospect of a long legal battle in the Supreme Court (which may end AFTER the 2016 elections – after Poe has won or lost) is too heavy a burden to pass on to Poe supporters so only the heavily committed (to her) may stay with her on Election Day while her “soft” supporters may seek other options with Mayor Duterte as the greatest beneficiary of formerly Poe votes. It would be too easy for Duterte campaigners to say that a vote for Poe could be a WASTED vote (assuming she wins the elections BUT is DISQUALIFIED with FINALITY by the Supreme Court)