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SET ruling on Poe’s disqualification to be appealed before SC

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The legal question on the eligibility of Sen. Grace Poe in the elections is far from over.

Rizalito David has vowed to pursue his bid to disqualify Poe despite last Tuesday’s dismissal by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) of his protest  against the senator’s election in the 2013 mid-term polls.

David said he would question before the Supreme Court (SC) the legal basis of the majority ruling by the five senators who voted to dismiss his petition.  

“I will file a petition for certiorari to question their grave abuse of discretion,” he said in a text message yesterday.

David said the SET’s finding that Poe is a natural-born citizen despite being a foundling should be reviewed by the high court.

He said the three SC justices in the SET – Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion – were unanimous in their opinion that Poe cannot be considered a natural-born citizen unless she is able to prove that either of her biological parents was a Filipino.

The magistrates cited the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), saying the Constitution requires either of the parents of Poe to be a Filipino citizen for her to be a natural-born citizen.

They said that while international conventions signed by the Philippines allowed foundlings in the country to be Filipino citizens, such process should be considered as a naturalization of citizenship.

Sen. Nancy Binay agreed with this opinion and also voted to grant the disqualification petition.

They were however outvoted by five other members of the tribunal – Senators Vicente  Sotto III, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar and Bam Aquino.

Aquino, who belongs to the Liberal Party, said that he did not let his political affiliation influence his decision on Poe’s case.

He said he based his decision on the rights of foundlings as provided for under international law.

The senator said classifying foundlings as naturalized citizens of a country would deprive them of several rights and privileges that are enjoyed by their natural-born counterparts.

Aquino said that this would limit the foundlings’ job options, particularly in government.

The majority held that Poe, a frontrunner in next year’s presidential race, is natural-born and has the right to hold public office.

David’s lawyer Manuelito Luna said they would possibly invoke the SC ruling in the Lerias case in questioning the SET decision.

In Lerias vs. Mercado, the high court warned politicians who are members of the electoral tribunals against partisan voting.

Following her victory at the SET, Poe appealed to her biological parents to come forward and put closure on her question why they left her at the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City 47 years ago.

Poe said while she has always looked up to her adoptive parents as her real parents, a foundling like her longs for the time she gets to know her biological parents.

She said she is grateful to her biological mother for deciding to let her live.

Poe said it has been her longtime desire to know and meet her biological parents. – With Christina Mendez, Jose Rodel Clapano, Sheila Crisostomo, Jess Diaz, Marvin Sy, Non Alquitran

ACIRC AQUINO ASSOCIATE JUSTICES ANTONIO CARPIO CASTRO AND ARTURO BRION CYNTHIA VILLAR AND BAM AQUINO GRACE POE ILOILO CITY IN LERIAS JARO CATHEDRAL JESS DIAZ POE
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