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‘Comelec out of Poe’s citizenship case’

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - For the camp of presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no jurisdiction to decide whether or not she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Based on the verified answer filed by Poe’s lawyer George Erwin Garcia, the Comelec is not the one that should determine if the July 18, 2006 order of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) granting her natural-born status is valid or not.

Poe’s answer stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ), and not the Comelec, has primary jurisdiction to revoke the BI order which found her a former natural-born Filipino and approved her petition for reacquisition of natural-born Filipino citizenship.

The answer is in connection with the petition filed by former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) chief legal counsel Estrella Elamparo, who asked the Comelec to cancel or deny due course to Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president.

Elamparo argued that Poe is not qualified to run for president because she does not meet the Constitutional requirements on residency and citizenship.

In a hearing last Monday, Elamparo had asked the Comelec to revoke the BI order because it was anchored on Republic Act 9225 which does not apply to Poe because she is not a natural-born Filipino.

But according to Garcia, the BI order can only be revoked by the DOJ upon a substantive finding of fraud, misrepresentation or concealment on the part of the applicant.

Aside from Elamparo’s case, Poe is facing three other disqualification petitions filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East-College of Law dean Amado Valdez. 

Defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David also filed a citizenship-related disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

They raised the same argument as David on Poe’s citizenship.

Senatorial bet and Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno said yesterday that presidential aspirant Poe is a victim of “tanim-DQ” or planting of disqualification cases to derail her presidential bid.   – With Jess Diaz, Jose Rodel Clapano, Eva Visperas

ACIRC AMADO VALDEZ ANTONIO CONTRERAS BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION COMELEC DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ELAMPARO ESTRELLA ELAMPARO EVA VISPERAS POE
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