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SC all set to rule on Poe cases

Is Senator Grace Poe qualified to run for president in the May 9, 2016, national elections?

This will be known soon as the Supreme Court (SC) is all set to rule on a petition filed by Poe, who challenged the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her on account that she is not a natural-born Filipino and her failure to meet the 10-year residency required for a presidential candidate.

While the Comelec wants the SC to lift its restraining orders that stalled the enforcement of its rulings disqualifying Poe, the lady lawmaker insists she is qualified to run for president.

Both the Comelec, through Commissioners Arthur Lim and Ma. Rowena Amelia Guazon, and Poe have already filed their respective memoranda in compliance with the SC order.

With the filing of the Comelec and Poe’s respective memoranda, as well as those of other parties in the cases filed by the senator, the SC is now ready to resolve the issues whether she is a natural-born Filipino and has met the 10-year residency required by the Constitution of a presidential candidate.

The Comelec had earlier declared her ineligible to run for president for not being a natural-born Filipino and for lack of the required 10-year residency. However, these rulings were challenged by Poe before the SC.

Upon filing of the petition, the SC issued two temporary restraining orders (TRO) that stopped the Comelec from enforcing its rulings. It then conducted oral arguments that lasted five days spread in five weeks. The memoranda from the parties were the last pleadings required before the SC hands down its decision.

COMELEC MEMORANDUM

In its memorandum, the Comelec said that Poe had failed to factually establish in five oral arguments that she is a natural-born Filipino and has met the 10-year residency.

It did not agree with Poe that her status as natural-born citizen has been accorded by international conventions granting citizenship to foundlings like her in countries where they were found.

“Assuming, for the sake of argument, that these conventions impliedly declare a foundling as a natural-born citizen of the country where he or she is found, these cannot supplant or override the Constitution, which requires a bloodline to a Filipino parent to confer the status of being a natural-born Filipino citizen,” it said.

The Comelec pointed out that “a foundling is not among those enumerated in the Constitution as to who are citizens of the Philippines. Petitioner admits that her parentage is unknown. Necessarily, she cannot, no matter how she presents it, truthfully claim that her father, or for that matter, her mother, is a citizen of the Philippines.”

“Since a foundling cannot determinatively point a blood relation to a Filipino father or mother, there is simply no factual or legal, let alone constitutional, basis to consider her as a natural-born Filipino citizen,” it stressed.

It cited the declaration of a known constitutionalist, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution. Bernas had said that “if a natural-born Filipino citizen loses his citizenship by renunciation or by any other mode recognized by law, would he still be considered natural-born if he subsequently reacquires citizenship? It is submitted that, whether under the 1973 or 1987 provision, such person would not be a natural-born Filipino.”

On the issue of residency, the Comelec memorandum stated that Poe had re-established her domicile in the Philippines on July 18, 2006 when she repatriated to the country.

It said that the things Poe did in 2005 like the transfer of her children to Philippine schools from the US and purchase of property in San Juan could not be basis to justify her intent to stay in the country for good at that time.

“After consideration by the Comelec of all of the foregoing, one important matter stood out: All of these acts were done while Poe remained a US citizen, without her waiving her non-resident status, with her sojourning in the country as a visa-free balikbayan visitor, and before she repatriated on 18 July 2006,” it said.

“All of said acts could be done by any other non-resident alien without any intent to re-establish Philippine domicile, hence, those were acts that do not satisfy the test of substantial evidence showing that Poe had in fact decided to re-establish her domicile or residence in the Philippines, and further highlighted by the fact that she never applied for an ICR (Immigrant Certificate of Residency), she remained an American citizen all that time, she never waived her non-resident status before her repatriation on 18 July 2006, and she was sojourning in the country only as a temporary balikbayan visitor,” it added.

POE’S MEMORANDUM

In her memorandum, Poe asked the SC to reverse the two rulings of the Comelec on her disqualification.

Poe insisted that she had met the citizenship and residency requirements of the Constitution for a presidential candidate.

Contrary to Comelec’s claim, Poe said she did not commit material misrepresentation when she indicated in her COC that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen and that she will be a resident of the Philippines for “10 years and 11 months” by May 9, which is way beyond the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates prescribed in the 1987 Constitution.

Poe claimed that the decision of the Comelec was “somewhat premeditated, and that bias and impartiality tainted the poll body’s acts.”

Through her lawyers, Poe also lamented how the Comelec “changed and manipulated at every turn” the rules of the game in deciding Poe’s case “to achieve the singular objective of denying due course to her COC, and ultimately, removing her name from the ‘official ballot.”

The senator maintained her position that she has been a resident of the Philippines since May 24, 2005.

On the citizenship issue against her, Poe said the Comelec abused its discretion when it ruled that she had the burden of proving her natural-born citizenship.

“As importantly, the burden to prove that petitioner is not a natural-born Filipino citizen rested on the private respondents, because petitioner (Poe) is presumed by law to be qualified for the office for which she now seeks to run,” she said.

On the residency issue, Poe told the SC that she began to settle permanently in the Philippines on May 24, 2005; enrolled her children to local schools in June, 2005; purchased a property in the late 2005; constructed her family home in Quezon City in early 2006, and sold their US property in 2006.

COMPLAINANTS

Complainants on the eligibility of Poe – former Sen. Francisco Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras, and former law school dean Amado Valdez – also filed their respective memoranda.

Tatad, Contreras, Elamparo, and Valdez insisted that Senator Poe is not qualified to run for president in the May elections.

They pleaded the SC “not to give special treatment” to the senator who had been disqualified by the Comelec in two separate decisions.

They said the Comelec acted within its authority in cancelling Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for president on account of not being a natural-born Filipino and for lack of the 10-year residency.

“Public respondent Comelec did not act out of bounds, much less commit grave abuse of discretion, in denying due course to or canceling petitioner’s (Poe’s) certificate of candidacy for President for material misrepresentation, having lied under oath about eligibility and qualifications for elective office. Contrary to her declarations in her COC, petitioner is disqualified to run for the highest and most powerful position of the land. Being a foundling and under the terms of the 1935 Constitution, she is neither natural-born nor naturalized,” Tatad said.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.

  • Felino Garlitos

    Citizenship is governed by substantive , better still Constitutional law. Residency is governed by arithmetic. Altho a MR can still be filed, it seems next to impossible for the Sp Ct. to reverse/revise itself. But there were times, it changed its mind, specially its population is changing with the appointment of youthful and brilliant ladies.. It passed the decision to choose its President to the electors who would be in a better position to select its President..Poe is leading and to DQ her may amount to muffling the will of the voters, or even, the will of God. The voice of the people is the voice of God, altho not necessarily in our country anymore.