Poe expected to submit DNA test result on October 21

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Sen. Grace Poe is expected to submit the result of her DNA test by Oct. 21, according to the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

SET spokesman and secretary Irene Guevarra clarified it was Poe’s camp and not the SET that offered the DNA test during the Sept. 21 oral argument on the disqualification case filed against the senator.

“They were given 30 days to submit the DNA test result,” Guevarra told The STAR. 

George Garcia, Poe’s lawyer, said the result of the DNA test has yet to be released.

Losing senatorial candidate Lito David filed the case with the SET, citing Poe’s questionable citizenship.

David’s lawyer Manny Luna said they do not object to the DNA test as long as the protocol promulgated by the Supreme Court (SC) would be followed.

In a memorandum filed on Monday, Luna said they have evidence to prove Poe is not a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Poe to win case

In Cabanatuan City, Sen. Francis Escudero expressed confidence Poe would win the disqualification suit, citing an SC ruling that threw out a similar petition against Poe’s adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr.

“The Supreme Court then said ‘we can’t leave it to the unelected members of this Court to decide on the fate of Fernando Poe Jr. That is best left to the sovereign will of the people’,” Escudero told reporters at the La Parilla Hotel.

“They voted to dismiss the petition in the 2004 case. There is no reason why the same ruling should not apply now,” he added.

Escudero was responding to a question on whether popular so-vereignty should apply in the case of Poe, as stated by former SC chief Justice Artemio Panganiban.

The 2004 ruling, penned by Associate Justice Jose Vitug, said that while Poe was born out of wedlock, his father Lorenzo was not shown to have declared his allegiance to Spain by virtue of the Treaty of Paris and the Philippine Bill of 1902.

Seven other justices, including then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., voted in favor of the dismissal of the disqualification.   

Panganiban said the people should be the final arbiter on the fate of Poe. He said election issues that do not involve crimes or obvious violations of law “should be settled by the voters, not by judges and lawyers.”       

Legal principles

Meanwhile, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal cited legal principles that qualify Poe as a natural-born citizen.

Macalintal disagreed with Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who cited international customary laws in saying Poe could be considered only as naturalized, not natural-born.

“With due respect to Justice Carpio, international customary laws do not refer to foundlings like Poe but to her parents who are presumed to be natural-born Filipinos,” he said.

Macalintal said international laws consider parents of foundlings as natural-born citizens of the place where they are found, so that foundlings themselves are considered natural-born.

He added that while the Philippines has no specific laws on foundlings, the Constitution “clearly recognizes adherence to international laws.”

“Those who drafted our Constitution intentionally did not include provisions on foundlings because they were of the view that issues on foundlings could be resolved by generally accepted principles of international law,” he said.

He said international customary laws apply regardless of the physical appearance of the foundling.

He also cited doctrine of parens patria, which allows the state to be considered parents of abandoned children. “If the state is Filipino, Poe as foundling must have had the Filipino state as parent and is therefore a natural-born Filipino,” Macalintal said.

Macalintal said the social justice principle states those who have less in life, including foundlings, should have more in law.

He said the question on Poe’s nationality was borne only of her being a presidential contender in next year’s elections.

“If she were not so, nobody would file anything against her,” he said. –With Ding Cervantes, Manny Galvez

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